We finished our lunch without any issue. Zenan ate with us.
"How could a campsite lunch be this luxurious... Just what?"
Zenan was stupefied by our mealtime. Starting from the time we were preparing food.
We bought a lot of seasonings in the empire. I'm sure you'd normally eat simple stuff like jerky and stiff bread deep in a forest like this. But not us.
Utensils, table, chairs, magic beast meat, salt, pepper, fresh vegetable soup, actual meal, all at the ready.
Then once we were done with aftermeal tea, they all got stored away.
"...How could you bastard afford to be so calm? In the first place, we should hurry and report this matter to the elder."
Zenan seems flustered. The biggest issue, Goblin King, has been taken care of so there's no need for that. All that's left to do now is the clean up. You won't come up with a good idea if you rush it.
But since we're not on friendly terms enough for me to tell him that, I replied with this instead.
"Man you're pretty forgetful aren't you. What did I say again? It was Serena's group who asked my help. This got nothing to do with the elven elder. I do what I want. I don't need anyone's permission if I deem it necessary. That's what it means to be free."
"Zenan, what have you even done to lodge a complaint to milord? This forest would have fallen into a crisis if not for milord's guidance. And yet I never heard a word of gratitude to him from you. You have learned nothing even after coming this far. What a disgrace to elves."
Zenan could only utter 'Guh!' when Serena reproved him.
I've put the Dungeon Core away from our resting spot. It's periodically pulsing blue lights. Quite beautiful.
Next to it, Chimera is blissfully grooming itself.
(Guessing that feels nice to mutated beings? It was jumping all over my shoulder in good mood when I came close to that core inside the cave after all.)
Chimera who usually flopped on my shoulder looked to be in high spirits near the dungeon core.
'Meow', looks like it had enough and came up to me.
It flapped its little wings as it floated up before perching on my shoulder like usual.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Well, think that's about enough rest, let's get a move on."
"Oy, where do you plan on going? You cannot possibly mean to leave this forest, do you?"
Zenan asked while emitting a prickly aura. He's super wary of me, the sole person who can transport the dungeon core.
We tried other methods like tying the core with a rope and pulling on it. But it wouldn't even budge even though it's just floating in mid air.
Yet I can easily move it like it's not even there.
That fact means I'm the only one who can carry the core around.
There's no telling what kind of effects it would have on elves if they get close. No point in crossing that line right now.
I guess it's only natural to get suspicious of me when I mention being free.
"I'm going to negotiate with elves."
Everyone voiced their surprise in unison.
Zenan was the loudest. The other elves are quietly panicking.
"U-umm, milord?" "Eh? But why?" "With those people who treated us like that?" "Just what...?"
"I cannot fathom...."
Serena was the only calm one, standing serenely like usual.
"Milord's thinking is simply beyond ours. All we need to do is to follow him."
"No no, tell me what you think. Who can say if I overlooked stuff, you know."
"Just what are you bastard scheming!? I may have to cut you down here depending on your answer! I shan't show any mercy to those who intend to harm elves."
"Okay, I'm done with you and your constant nitpicking. So how about we prove who's on top here."
"Hmph! Underestimate me at your own peril! I won't lose to mere human!"
"After you lose, you have no right to complain on whatever I'm doing or saying, deal?"
"And my victory spells your banishment from this forest, forever! I know not how strong you are, but the only reason I dropped my sword back then was because I wasn't focused on you. You won't see me drop my guard this time. I shall crush you here!"
(Oh so that's been on his mind this whole time huh. Well doesn't matter. Let's smash his pride to pieces.)
This guy is way too simple to get this heated up from a mere provocation. Without knowing or trying to find out his opponent's strength, only looking down on them through sheer conceit.
I'd like to impart him the saying, 'Know your enemy and yourself, and you need not fear the result of a hundred battles'.
An impulsive guy who always nitpicks on everything is the most troublesome. If I don't shut him up here, he's gonna crash my discussion with the elder.
"The match is over only after one of us admits defeat. Is that fine with ya? No killing. This match's whole point is to know each other's abilities and to admit superiority. Agreed?"
Zenan laughed out loud when he heard me.
"Bring it on! I'll slice and dice your pride to pieces!"
"Good, you ready? Let's start then."