9-16. High Elf
Satou's here. There's this phrase, 'clumsy beauty', but I think that's more favorable than a perfect beauty. Although, they only exist behind the TV or the net in my former world.
The elder council hall that Mia's father has lead me to is located inside a block of the world tree, deep in the Boruenan forest.
We came over from the [Fairy Rings] on the underground town-like place at the surface town. I don't really know since Mia's father is too silent, but probably the block can only be entered via teleportation.
Of course, I had used [All Map Exploration] when I entered this block, but it couldn't map the layer above certain stratum, and the lowermost layer, maybe because they were in different blocks. Or maybe, there is some kind of system that can resist [All Map Exploration].
What I can gather from the known map is that this block is about five kilometers deep underground. I don't remember the thickness of earth's crust, but isn't this quite deep? The roots of world tree expands to the outside of the block structures, and even outside the edges of the whole Boruenan forest. The place with Mia's house yesterday is about 10 kilometers away from the this world tree block. I've mistakenly thought that it was quite close because the world tree is too bizarrely big.
Going back to the topic, there are a lot of elves in this world tree block.
There are about ten times as many as the elves above. However, nearly everyone has [Sleeping] status. They're comparatively high leveled and older than the surface elves. Some of the younger elves are around one millennium old, but most of them are more than ten thousands years old. However, in contrast to their long life, there isn't any elf who is beyond level 50.
I'd like to hear just what kind of circumstances that the sleeping elves have, but I'm not asking Mia's father since he will likely retort back with, "How did you know?"
Now then, as for the long-awaited high elves, there are only eight of them. Moreover, seven of them are in [Sleeping] states like the other elves. The high elves are around level 50-70. Their longevities are wondrous even compared to the elves.
And, the only awake high elf is waiting in the elder council hall ahead.
I arrive at the destination while checking the world tree block like such.
The boards that I've been riding disappears as it's sucked into the ground. The door in front of me is a three meters wide octagonal wood door. The corridors I'm coming from so far are all made of resin, it seems only the ones here are different.
The door opens like an automatic door when Mia's father takes a step forward. It opens by splitting to the left and right, and then there is another thin door immediately inside, that then opens by splitting to the top and bottom.
There's a 20 meters long passage inside with another door structure like just now at the end. It's like an air lock.
Oops, I've been thinking the structure of the automatic door too much.
I quickly go toward Mia's father who has entered the room earlier and is calling me.
"Satou of Shiga kingdom. We wish to express our gratitudes for your assistance."
"Satou of Shiga kingdom. We won't forget the favor of saving the baby from the wicked magician."
"Satou of Shiga kingdom. We want to repay you for bringing back the baby to us from the distant land."
"Satou of Shiga kingdom. You have--"
This here is an auditorium with an open space that looks like it can hold more than 1000 people inside.
There are around 20 dignitaries of the elder council who are sitting on the front row inside.
And one by one, they're saying thank you for having brought Mia back, but why are they using, "Satou of Shiga kingdom" at the beginning of the sentences. I wonder if that kind of phrase is a rule. They seem to know the fact that I understand elf language as they speak in elf language.
These elders look about as young as Mia's father.
However, their eyes are different.
How do I say this, their eyes look like aged turtles, calm, or rather stillness that are bordering on apathy. If you look closer, their eyes are steadily immobile as if they're about to doze off. As expected of people who have lived thousands of years. I'd like to get along with them and listen to their tales from ages past.
However, even though the black dragon Heiron is far older than these elder elves, I feel that he's much younger than them. I'm interested if this is due to the racial difference, or individual difference.
And then, as if waiting for when everyone has finished saying their thanks, the thick curtain on the interior of the room rises, and then people come out while riding on the only light board in the room.
The long-awaited high elf-san is on the center of that board, and four elves miko-san are standing on all four sides as if protecting the high elf.
These four miko-san aren't wearing western style miko outfits like Sera and the others in the duchy capital, but Japanese-styles clothes. And it's even the miko clothing with excessive ornaments that's usually used during Kagura dances. Miko has to wear white quilt silk garment with red hakama after all.
Unfortunately, I still can't see the high elf.
That's because bamboo blinds immediately float between the four standing miko elves-san. Yes, they're floating. There is no props, and the miko-san aren't holding them either. It's probably magic.
The light board that the high elf-san and the elves are riding passes through between the elders, and stops before me.
The scepters of miko-san rung matching to their voices.
No one was talking, but it would be boorish of me to retort that.
""""Holy tree-sama will honorably speak.""""
The high elf-san is called holy tree huh. Since her real name is Aialize, I wonder if holy tree is her nickname or an abbreviation of her position. From the AR, her title is [Pure Maiden], and her occupation is [World Tree: Ground Administrator].
The bamboo blinds that are hiding her smoothly open, and the high elf shows up.
Another little girl huh.
The one beyond the bamboo blinds is a little girl who's even younger than Arisa of around 5-8 years old. Her face looks a bit like Mia, but with her silver hair and red eyes, she's a bit different than other elves who have green hair and green eyes. Out of curiosity, I tried verifying her age, but I couldn't. This is the first time I've seen age with hundreds of millions units. I felt dizzy when I was halfway counting the digits.
However, her appearance is that of a little girl huh.
"Satou of Shiga kingdom. You've done well escorting Misanalia back to Boruenan forest, noja."
"Wacchi? Wa, thank you very much, noja."
<TLN: 'Wacchi' is cutesy form of 'washi', which means 'I', used mostly by elderly.>
I wonder why I feel that her way of speaking isn't natural.
She was speaking fluently halfway through it, but her words clogged when she was about to call herself, and she ended up speaking in monotone. When her word was fluent, her voice was calm and gentle, but when it was clogging, it became like some strange anime voice. It's like when a person who isn't a voice actress tries to mimic one.
The elders are steadfast like always even when they see such high elf. But, although I can't see the faces of the four miko-san since they're covering it, their shoulders are trembling.
"What's wrong, ka ya?"
The little girl tilts her head to one side.
I've noticed that illusions don't work on me ever since I saw through Pochi's human form at Muno city back then.
I can see the figure of a woman in her 20s who's sitting, overlapping the standing little girl. Blue eyes and light blond hair, thin lips and nose that isn't too high, even though it's not at Lulu's degree, she's a beautiful woman without a doubt. It's hard to make out her body due to her white silk garment and miko shirt (chihaya), but her breasts look to be about C cup. I don't know her height since she's sitting, but I'm guessing it's around mine.
Nice, truly nice!
You have to meet such beauty in the other world or else it's not enough after all. Ah, I'm glad that I visit Boruenan forest.
"What do you wish for--rewards, noja?"
The little illusion girl pridefully says so full of confidence, but the real girl has her face a bit red.
It seems she's not doing this farce out of her own will. I'm slightly charmed at her timid troubled expression.
"Then, Satou of Shiga kingdom. I shall grant you a kiss as your reward, noja."
Oops, I didn't listen to the beginning and the end of the talk.
I see an illusion of the little girl spreading her arm and pushing her lips that become like an octopus' forward. The real form of the beauty seems to be embarrassed as she's closed her eyes.
I would have immediately declined if it was a kiss from a little girl, but there's no way I refuse if it's from such beauty.
Mia is also readily willing to kiss, so it must be like how Western people treat it like a greeting.
I step forward as if gliding through the ground, spontaneously put my hands on the beauty's cheeks, and lightly kiss her. I actually want to kiss the lips, but she's still the representative of elf hometown, so I restrain myself.
I've gotten used to the kiss on the forehead after I helped Mia, so I kiss the high elf on her forehead.
Since there's no reaction I drop my gaze, the high elf has fainted with red face that looks like a boiled octopus. She seemed to have been so stunned she fainted.
Perhaps, it was bad?
"Lua, give me water please."
The beauty-san who's sleeping on a bed that's shining transparent light, the high elf Aialize-san rises while being half-asleep.
Lua-san who has been waiting for Aialize-san to wake up together with me gives her some water poured from the pitcher. The water cup looks like it's made of glass, but it feels like plastic, such mysterious material. The AR says that it's called Alua Goblet. Alua is probably the material's name.
"Uu, what Daisaku's said must be a mistake. He said that high elf appears as a silver haired girl who uses [Noja] end word."
Lua-san is trying to tell her that I'm here, but since she's frantically talking to herself, she doesn't notice me at all.
Daisaku-san is the hero from 400 years ago who has created the town back I guess?
"I know already, you're telling me not to speak ill of the deceased right?"
Aialize-san is pouting with inflated cheeks like Mia.
"Mou, isn't it alright just for a bit. He must be thinking that I'm a weird woman. Even though he's the benefactor who has saved Mia, I wonder if he thinks that elf hometown is the worst now."
That can't be helped. It is weird after all.
"Even though I went to the surface town to tell Mia [Welcome back] yesterday, she wasn't there. That's right, that Arisa girl was also saying, [High elf has to be silver haired little girl, it's the basic.], or, [Master will definitely refuse if he's given a kiss from a little girl as a reward.], but it's totally different."
I see, so Arisa took part in this too.
"Mou, this is why I can't let my guard down against Japanese people. They're treating people like toys since a long time ago."
There should be several Japanese people from successive generations, but maybe she's only ever met people like Arisa? There should be normal one like me among them, what an unlucky person she is.
However, she knows that Arisa is a Japanese huh? She probably notices it from the purple hair. I had put on a blond hair wig on Arisa.
"Mou, Lua, what is it."
Lua-san points her finger with a little gesture at me.
I thought that it would be a problem to let a man enter her room, but since Lua-san didn't mind, I followed along. I don't really understand the hierarchy of this elf hometown. I guess it's more like democracy than monarchy. Or rather, it should be more like a big family.
Aialize-san turns her head mechanically like an unoiled tin doll.
Our eyes meet.
Aialize-san becomes flustered while going, 'au au'.
She's a clumsy person, but let's send her a life boat here. Feel like she'd think bad of me like Arisa otherwise.
"I've heard from Lua-san that you've been in fever since morning. I'm sorry that you had to overdo it for my sake."
"That's right Aialize-sama. Your fever still hasn't subsided, so please get some rest without overworking yourself today."
I quickly make eyes contact to Lua-san.
She's quickly ridden on my made-up story, [Her odd behaviors were because of her high fever that made her hazy.]
After Aialize-san had calmed down, I made a promise with Lua-san to visit them again, and decided to go back. According to Lua-san, seems that they have something to talk about. I feel that it's something troublesome, but it's fine just hearing it right.
When I returned to Mia's house, I was somehow told to [Seiza].
The leak doesn't seem to come from Mia's father. Behind Arisa and Mia, three of the miko are eating baked sweets while laughing happily. I'll slip in some extremely spicy cookies next time.