Inside the council, [Now then,] Sylvar started, standing before his seat. [My fellow chiefs, this is Amelia, our new chief. As we all know, we are here to discuss our relationship to the kingdom of Laurel.]
He gestured to his left and right, [But before that, Amelia, let me introduce to you Kan and Ran, my fellow Elven Chiefs.] introducing two other Elves.
Kan and Ran bore the same blonde hair, blue eyes, and a similar face. They wore the same brown leather clothing like Sylvar. A sleeve reaching to the elbow followed by a leather hand guard crested with a gem, a two-layered shirt reaching up to the ankle topped with a leather vest, an obsidian belt, plain short trousers, and knee-high leather boots.
[As you can see, Kan and Ran are twins.] The two nodded as said.
[Greetings Amelia.] The short-haired Kan said.
While the long-haired Ran, [Good morning Amelia.]
Another difference between them was that the Ran was slimmer than Kan, a male and female twin, similar to Fae and Rick.
On the other hand, [Sorry Amelia,] Garfin apologized. [Both Arkand and Dresbon have yet to return after the expedition. In any case, I’ll be taking over their responsibility for now.]
“I understand.” I answered.
[Have you read what Randolf has prepared in advance?] Kan asked.
“Yes, I have.” I replied.
[Then this would be a lot easier than we thought.] Ran said after Kan.
[Anyway, let’s all take a seat.] Sylvar suggested.
As told, we all took our respective seats. Garfin on my left, with two vacant seats beside him, and on my right, Sylvar, Kan, and Ran sat respectively.In between, is a large copper-gray roundtable. Obviously, they sat facing my direction, where a similar scenario of an interrogation played inside my mind.
Contrary to that image and atmosphere, [If you’ve read it, then are there any questions about it?] we were all relaxed.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned for these past few days, it’s that we could all speak with each other casually, a freedom given to everyone no matter the difference in rank.
“Yes, but first, I want to apologize,” I said with a light bow.
[Hrmm? Why?] Garfin asked leaning on his seat.
“I wish to change several things in the records that Grandfather had prepared.” Confidently, I answered.
[And why is that? Hadn’t Randolf prepared those to ease your burden?]
“Indeed, it was his intention to do so,” I nodded. “But I fear that not all of its contents are suited at this period. During the last five years, Father and Mother had taken actions in order to deceive the public of the severance of the trade with the Tribe.”
I breathed, then continued. “One of those actions is to collect a group of blacksmiths and task them to replicate the swords made by the Dwarfs.”
Father and Mother took this action so that the image built by Grandfather of the Tribe would not crumble.
“In that way, the public wouldn’t notice that the trade was severed even after his death. We’ve also released a number of the shards and crystals that was stored in the treasury of the palace; while Father tasked another group of miners to establish a hidden mine to cover what was lost from the trade.”
They even used their connection with the merchants in order to shut the mouths of those who were previously involved in the trade by privately hiring them as the palace’s accountants and as private purveyors.
“In addition, I believe that transferring the commodities in bulk is not beneficial as of the moment. We would need time to replace the artificial products we released so that the difference in quality wouldn’t be easily noticeable, but this is something that I need to discuss with Father and Mother since they might have a different opinion on this.”
I continued. “And before that, I wish to further review these records while I visit the places where the Tribe processes the commodities to be traded. But if there's one thing...”
[Continue.] Sylvar said after my short pause confirming that they are listening.
“The route that he made by shutting down an old mine, reasoning that the mine was running empty. I would like to see it personally.”
A trade route using a mine… I thought. If it is properly used, guarding the commodities would be easier compared to guarding it while scaling the mountain.
[Hrmm…] Garfin grunted as he combed his beard.
[It seems that the trade severance,] Ran started.
Then Kan continued. [Gave our neighbor some difficulties.]
[Seems like it.] Sylvar agreed.
If only the trade wasn’t severed… I thought as I observed their reactions. Besides, I still don’t understand why the trade was severed. It is in no way beneficial to both parties…
I raised my right hand to ask for permission to talk, in which they allowed.
“Could I ask the main reason for the severance of the trade?” I asked. After they nodded, I continued. “I don’t wish to believe that the lack of a member of the Tribe from the human side is the only reason.”
[We didn’t want it either.] Garfin answered with crossed arms. [It’s a wish from Randolf himself.]
[He told us that,] Ran said.
Then Kan, [He already planned it.]
[If there’s one thing,] Sylvar said. [He left you a message that he stashed in Alabaster that we are not allowed to get near to.]
“What do you mean?”
Sylvar, looking to Garfin’s direction, nodded. [Garfin will lead you to the place.]
[I’ll take several days to prepare for the trip, so you can use that time to visit the other places.] Garfin said.
“How long would the preparations take?” I asked. “I still have about…”
Placing a finger on my lips, I thought.
Today is the 25th day of the 2nd Month of Spring. Then I have about 3 more days, another 28 for the next month, and then an extra day before the Academy starts.
The people I left in Academia should’ve prepared the necessary requirements for the enrollment so I can at least try to be at the Tervin’s dukedom 3 days before it starts. I’ve also sent a message to Erina to move into Fargan, the town next to the dukedom. After that, I could ride Birby into Fargan in a single day, but I have to at least stay in Aves for 5 days. In that case…
“I still have about 22 to 24 days.” I said. “Would that be enough?”
[Hrmmm…] Garfin muttered. [Then we’ll go there seven days from now. In the meantime, do as you wish.]
After Garfin, Sylvar asked. [By the way Amelia, have you prepared a candidate to serve as your substitute while you’re away?]
“Yes, I have.” I answered. “I’ll have my servant, Ark, act as my substitute while I’m away.”
[And the people you wish to bring?]
“Including Ark, at most 11 persons would arrive here a few days from now.”
It’d be best if I could hide Camille, Rick, and Fae here in the Tribe. That way, the chance that Camille will meet Father without the illusion will be minimal. I just hope that they wouldn’t be uncomfortable meeting another race, but I guess they can get used to it as the time goes.
[Good,] Sylvar replied. [Is there anything else?]
In response, I shook my head. “None.” And so did Garfin, Kan, and Ran.
[Then this meeting has ended.]
After the meeting had ended, we respectfully left our seats and proceeded to the 2nd floor of the council. At the 2nd floor, there were seats and tables made out of brown varnished maple wood. There were enough seats to accommodate 20 persons.
On the nearest table for six, “Oh, you’re finally here.” was Kanna.
Without hesitation, I took the seat beside her. On the other hand, Ran took the seat beside me, ending up between Kanna and Ran. On the other side, Garfin, Sylvar, and Kan sat down respectively.
“Finally, a meal!” Kanna said brightly.
“You did nothing though?” I refuted.
“Waiting is tiring too Lia.” She lectured with a fork on her left hand.
[Seems like you two come along quite well.] Ran added.
“Of course!” She answered. “Lia and I go way more than you think!”
“You’re the only one who thinks that…” I said with a frown.
“At least cover me Lia!”
[Ahahaha.] Kan chuckled. [It’s nice to see that our new chief is coping up well.]
“Hmm?” I muttered. “Somehow, it’s weird that you’re not following up after your sister or your sister not following up after you…”
[Ah that,] Ran answered with a wry smile. [Actually, that’s what Kan suggested, and since we can read each other’s mind to some extent, we can follow up for each other.]
“Ah, is that so?”
[Ha ha ha] Kan forced a laugh. [Doesn’t it sound mysterious and amazing?] He grinned.
“Excuse me for this,” Apologetic, I said. “Actually, I find it annoying.”
“Yeah, me too.” Kanna added.
Sylvar nodded. [I agree.]
[Couldn’t care less.] Garfin inserted.
[See?!] Ran shouted. [I told you it looked weird!]
[I-It’s at least tasteful right?] Kan asked raising his hand just above the table as if preparing for something. [And besides why does Kanna have a comment in this?]
Without a second thought, I shook my head. “No.”
[Please forgive me!] Kan raised his hand in surrender.
Meanwhile, Ran grinned after standing from her seat. [Heh, you seem prepared this time.]
[Impossible.] Kan muttered. [I, the great chief Kan, would never back do- w-wait!]
[Stop with that nonsense!] Ran said as he grabbed Kan’s hand. [We’re bringing this outside!]
[S-sylvar! My friend!] Kan called. [Help me!]
In response, [Sorry.] Sylvar waved his hand goodbye.
“Okay, that’s two people down for the food.” Kanna grinned. “And just in time, here it is!”
A parade of three elves came and brought the most awaited meal.
[I agree, Amelia did a good follow-up to reduce our enemies.]
[That’s my Granddaughter for you.]
“Eh?” Surprised, I muttered. “I just gave my honest thought though? I didn’t try to read too much into it.”
“Nevertheless, you did good!”
One by one, the food was placed on the table. Once everything was served we all took our own portions and started to eat.
“Now that I thought about it, I haven’t seen a lot of vegetables around, but there’s an abundant amount of fruits.”
[That’s actually a problem for the Tribe.] Sylvar answered. [There’s a few number of plants that are able to live here at this height of Alabaster.]
“Then why didn’t you settle somewhere else?”
[That’s due to the number of beasts in this area.] Sylvar replied. [Do you remember the underground spring?]
“The one from the ritual?”
[Yes, there are several spirits residing there, as well as earth spirits in this area. Living between the two spirits make an abundant ground to grow certain crops. In addition, the spirits works as a natural deterrent to the beasts.]
“Ah, I understand now.” I said as I guessed the reason without knowing the actual inner workings of the spirits that I can’t see. “By the way, what does the seeds from a Tree Mimic do?”
[Ah, that’s actually what we call the Mimic’s treasure.]
Puzzled, I tilted my head slightly. “Treasure?”
[Yes, they usually grow a random crop that’d naturally adapt to the surrounding.]
“Then anything that grows from it will naturally survive?”
[Yes,] He replied. [In some cases a rare kind of plant may grow. Like that plant we Elves use to make Elixirs.]
“Elixir?!” I unconsciously shouted as I stood. “You mean that potion that can cure any ailment and heal any wounds?!”
“Whoa.” Kanna muttered. “Relax there, Amelia. It’s not that easy to get that plant even for the Elves you know?”
[Indeed,] Sylvar added. [That plant has an extreme case of rarity, so I wouldn’t expect them to grow from the Mimic seeds that easily.]
Realizing what I did, “Ah, what a shame.” I took my seat like refined lady I was. “Anyway, when would they return?”
[They will take a bit longer.] Unexpectedly, Garfin answered. [Anyway, enough with that seed. Let’s discuss what we’ll do with those flakes!] With a wide smile, he enthusiastically said.
“Oh, here they go again.” Kanna muttered.
And I added. “Yeah...”
[Garfin, like I said, it’ll be pointless to talk about it now that Arkand and Dresbon have yet to return.]
[Who cares about them, I’m the best weaponsmith in this Tribe!]
[I told you that it doesn’t have to be a weapon!]
[Then what do you want?! An armor from a horn shedding? Ridiculous!]
“”Haah…”” Kanna and I sighed and silently ate our food while we watched them fighting over their decisions.
Suddenly, Garfin asked me. [Amelia! What do you think? A weapon, right?!]
While Sylvar suggested. [Amelia, please tell off this weapon monger.]
“Err…” While taking in their glares, I tried to think of an answer while I recalled the trial given to me by Amalthea.
“Uhm…” I muttered. “Maybe a metallic horn would do?”
[[Hmm? Why?]] They asked in chorus.
“Well, you see, Amalthea’s horn was used to gather lightning strikes,” I answered. “Then I remembered the horn from the celebration the other day. So I thought that maybe, using it to make a horn will create a horn that calls in lightning or maybe a storm?”
[[And where did you get idea for the effect?]] Again, in a chorus, they asked.
“Just my fantasy?” I answered honestly.
[Hrmm…] Garfin thought as he combed his beard. [It does make sense in a way.]
[Yes,] Sylvar agreed. [I agree, it does make sense.]
Eh? They’re buying that idea I just thought of out of the blue?
“I don’t think it’s a good thing to follow my idea.”
[[No, we’ve decided.]] Then they shook their arms with a wide smile plastered on their face.
“Well, it does make sense Lia. Burp!” Kanna joined while she placed her hand over her full stomach.
“What? I just ate my fill and a part of Kan and Ran’s.”
“Haah…” I sighed. “Nevermind.”
[Oh, what did I miss?] Then Ran joined.
“Oh, welcome back Ran and Ka- where’s Kan?” I asked.
[Ah, don’t mind him. He’ll be returning soon.]
Afterward, we continued our idle chatter while Sylvar and Garfin left to make a design for the horn.
Don’t blame me if something goes wrong with that horn…