|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3185 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1491 words|
But now those were the feelings Gregor expressed to Mira. After thinking about it for such a long time, all he felt was gratitude towards her. Mira answered with a silent nod, accepting the emotions bundled with those words. After taking a sip of tea, she smiled softly.
「By the way, I noticed when we got here, but you have a lot of flowerpots with rare specimens. Could I take a look around?」
Some time after the bulk of emotions had blown over, Gregor’s lively eyes surveyed the room. He was right, the place was filled with a multitude of flowerpots housing various plants.
「Please, go ahead. Look as much as you want!」
Mattie scrambled on her feet and hurried to bring various flowerpots to present on the table. Then she asked, 「Do you like plants, Mr. Gregor?」 with a very bright smile. Mattie used to be a botanist before she was recruited by the Fifty Bells. Her main research topic was ways to turn wastelands into forests.
But she had always loved plants since before that, and feeling like she had found a kindred spirit, she happily showed more of her flowerpots.
「Ahh…I wouldn’t say so, sorry. It’s just that the quality of ashes when forging swords can vary dramatically depending on the plant they came from. I became knowledgeable about them as I researched various combinations of plants and their effects.」
Learning about plants was just a side effect from researching his craft. When Gregor explained that, Mattie’s happy expression crumbled into sadness, a flowerpot still in her hands.
Ashes. An essential material for blacksmiths, obtained from burning various plants. Since Gregor loved to control every step of the process of his craft, he procured his own ashes as well. That also meant he had likely burned every single type of plant he knew.
「Well, umm… But seriously, I feel like there’s always something new to learn about them. Especially these with mana regeneration properties.」
Gregor quickly tried to think of something to say to distract Mattie, so he looked at the plants she had lined up on the table. They all had some sort of mana regeneration effect, which Gregor decided to mention.
「Yes, exactly! All Soul Nuclide plants are so mysterious and wondrous and full of secrets, I never get tired of studying them!」
Gregor’s plan was a success, as Mattie began to talk with a smile again. But it was too effective, her mouth never closing again as she listed detail after detail and going rather deep into a botanical rabbit hole.
Out of the endless stream of information, Mira was able to learn that Soul Nuclide was an umbrella term for all plants with some effect related to mana regeneration. At the same time, she was reminded of another botanist, Gilbert, who she met while traveling to the Abandoned City in the Sky. That also gave her a hunch that Mattie would be talking for a long time.
「But in conclusion, I believe that the Soul Nuclide genus is the best candidate to turn dry patches of land into luscious forests!!」
After nearly an hour of non-stop talking, Mattie finally concluded her speech. Soul Nuclide plants could be grown by pouring mana into them as well, so they could easily cover the land with greenery. Their roots would crack open the dry and hard ground, modifying the soil so it could hold much more water. With enough time, that would generate an environment capable of growing all sorts of plants naturally. At least that was Mattie’s terraforming plan..
Mira was already bored of plants by that point, looking annoyed at having to be there. But Gregor seemed interested, muttering, 「A west full of greenery, huh.」
「The only issue is that the roots of all Soul Nuclides I’ve tested so far didn’t have enough strength to break through the soil… I’d need something larger and stronger… If I had the seed of a Soul Nuclide tree my research would take a huge leap forward.」
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Mattie did not seem to notice the reaction of the two, continuing to talk about her research. She sounded a bit miffed though, as her research had met a roadblock recently.
「The seed of a tree..?」
Hearing Mattie’s musings, Mira recalled a past event. She had obtained a curious seed from Ryokuinshio no Mikoto, the god living in the sacred tree in the middle of the Forest of Praying Children.
「Say, Mattie. I got this seed from a sacred tree’s god before, would this help your research?」
As she said that, she took out the seed which she had thrown to a corner of her Item Box and placed it on the table.
「This came from a sacred tree?!」
Mattie’s voice increased in pitch dramatically as she leant down on the tree and stared at the seed. Then she turned to Mira full of excitement.
「A sacred tree is the Soul Nuclide of the highest level! Sacred trees that turned into Soul Nuclides after being bathed in mana for many years are especially useful for my experiments! Which sacred tree did this come from?」
「Ah…err… the one in the Forest of Praying-」
「…That’s Ryokuinshio no Mikoto! According to legends he used to be a cherry tree. This is perfect! Sacred trees that turned into Soul Nuclides are especially attuned to turning mana into nutrients, and nutrients back into mana! It’s also the perfect choice to modify soil properties, and a sacred tree is essentially the king of all vegetation that will grow later, maybe even making a verdant and lucious forest in the future! No, I’m certain that’ll happen!」
Mattie’s face was full of emotion as she spoke of her grandiose dreams. 「That would also be the perfect home for spirits,」 she added too.
(I don’t really know how forests develop, but I guess sacred trees have that kind of property as well. First time hearing about it though.)
Mira thought of that, surprised at the power hidden within the tree seed she had obtained so easily. At the same time, she felt like Mattie would be able to use it much better than she ever could.
「Well, if that’s what you think, go ahead and try it out. I don’t really have a use for it anyway.」
The words had barely left Mira’s lips when Mattie seemed about to cry, but her eyes were glistening with expectation as well. 「Are you really sure about that?!」 She asked to double check.
「You do realize that this kind of seed sells for at least 5 bil Rils, right?! Are you sure, are you really really sure I can have it?!」
Mattie kept repeating her words, falling on her knees as if praying to Mira.
Mira was left speechless hearing what Mattie, on her knees as if in front of her savior, had just said.
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5 bil Rils. That was a larger sum than all of Mira’s possessions during the game period had been worth. She could only imagine the luxuries available to someone with such funds.
If she had it, she would be able to stay in any inn she wished, entertain her palate with all sorts of delicacies, and buy all the adventuring gear that caught her eye.
「Uh-hmm… Don’t worry, as long as you promise to use it responsibly.」
「Yes, I promise! I vow to turn these wastelands into forests!」
Mattie answered firmly amongst tears. Then she carefully and reverently accepted the seed from Mira’s hands, thanking her with a deep bow.
Its value had left Mira speechless and enticed, but her pride as wiseman, and more importantly her lack of courage to contradict her words, did not allow her to take the seed back.
But she did not regret it. 「That’s a wonderful smile」 she muttered seeing how happily and carefully Mattie handled the seed.
「Mira, you really are a very generous person.」
Gregor and Mira left the Fifty Bells’ branch while Mattie saw them off with as much fanfare as she could muster. His voice was filled with respect for Mira, who laughed it off saying, 「It’s nothing, I just happen to know there are things that money can’t buy.」
After that Mira summoned Pegasus and mounted on his back. Gregor told her to return ahead.
「I want to walk through the city alone for a bit. I’ll be back there in around an hour.」
Adding that, Gregor walked towards the center of the city. As he walked into the distance, he looked slightly lonesome, but before he left Mira had seen him smile the brightest so far. Rather than feeling uneasy, he simply seemed to need time to sort his emotions.
He probably wanted to be alone for a while. 「Alright then,」 was Mira’s short reply, and she headed straight back to the party.