Develop 199

Chapter 199 What Happens Twice

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 On the night when I first exchanged words with the earth spirit, I was getting my body washed by Diana and Lewya in the bath, as usual…

 ”So, I really couldn’t ask anything more than that.”

 ”Is that true?”

 ”Diana, I understand your doubts, but there are things that are difficult to talk about even with Neil. You must have things that you can’t tell Neil too, right?”

 ”In the case of Master Neil, he often relies on others but keeps important things to himself, so I’m worried.”

 ”Indeed, now that you mention it… Just to make sure, it’s not something serious or a major problem, right?”

 ”I’m not saying that, so please don’t worry. The truth is, I really couldn’t ask anything significant.”

 In this way, I was in the midst of being bombarded with questions mainly by Diana. During the conversation with the earth spirit, I had asked Diana and Lewya to leave the room so that I could talk alone.

 Diana hesitated, but Lewya convinced her that she should obey the master’s orders. So, I was able to have a one-on-one conversation with the earth spirit with peace of mind.

 However, the result of that crucial discussion was not significant. Just like the divine tree claimed to be a tool of the gods and blindly followed the gods’ commands, the earth spirit also acted without questioning the orders of the divine tree.

 It seems that the earth spirit did not inquire about the reasons behind those instructions. In other words, the earth spirit had no understanding beyond the given instructions, and there was no response that I had hoped for.

 However, if there is any achievement in the conversation with the earth spirit, it would be the fact that I am the only one in this settlement who possesses a “crimson soul.” At that point, my predictions were wrong, and it became possible that there was no point in the instructions being split into two, and that I had simply read too much into it.

 But there must be a reason why the god, who has been neglectful until now, suddenly gave instructions to the Divine Spirit Tree. It might be a long shot, but it might be good to visit the Elf Village once and ask the Divine Spirit Tree directly.

 ”Hey, Lewya, can you take me to the Elf Village again?”

 ”That’s possible, but… don’t you think we don’t have the luxury to leave the settlement right now?”

 ”We’ll somehow make time. I couldn’t understand at all why such instructions were given, even after asking the Earth Spirit. I’m thinking of asking the Divine Spirit Tree directly.”

 ”Please, stop.”

 Suddenly, a voice from the side, a voice of an unfamiliar woman, interrupts with those words.

 When I turn my gaze to the source of the voice, I see a woman with light blue hair soaking in a bathtub.

 ”Even if you ask the Creator, the result will be the same, it’ll just be a waste.”

 ”…The Water Spirit, huh?”

 ”Yes, you understand, don’t you?”

 ”Wind and Earth have manifested as spirits in this land. It wouldn’t be strange if the remaining one also manifested.”

 ”The remaining one… hey, you’re really a peculiar human, aren’t you? Are all ‘crimson’ humans like that?”

 I didn’t know, or rather, I was more curious to hear about it from Diana and Lewya. However, I didn’t intend to bring up the topic of “Crimson” or anything in front of them, so I could only remain silent.

 After Diana and Lewya finished washing my body, I approached the bathtub to soak in the hot water. Leaning my body against the edge of the bathtub, I called out to the water spirit who was relaxing there.

 ”May I come in?”

 ”Of course, isn’t this your property? You don’t need to ask for my permission, do you? Or perhaps you’ll give me something in return?”

 ”I won’t give you anything. And what kind of compensation is that?”

 ”Hmm? Of course, it’s…”

 The water spirit interrupted there, arching her back and lifting one leg to show off her entire body provocatively, while wearing a teasing smile.

 ”How about the compensation of seeing me naked?”

 ”It’s not that ‘I saw’ but rather ‘you’re showing it off.’ Demanding compensation for that is just solicitation.”

 ”Do you dislike assertive women?”

 ”The meaning of ‘assertive’ is quite different, isn’t it…”

 This spirit is quite different from the earth spirit who claimed to be a tool. It’s a bit difficult to respond to her in various ways.

 Well, even spirits have emotions, so it’s not strange to have spirits with different personalities. But what is this vague feeling? It’s hard to put into words.

 ”Compared to the earth spirits, it feels quite light. It’s completely different from what I imagined.”

 ”You say you were imagining it when you heard our words through the elf there before?”

 ”Oh, at that time, two out of the three of us felt a tense atmosphere, and one of them even made some outrageous remarks…”

 At that moment, I realized a certain fact. The spirits living in this land are the wind, earth, and water spirits. In other words, by meeting all the spirits in this settlement and exchanging words, I have also encountered the one who insulted me back then…

 ”No way, it’s you?”

 ”Hmm? What are you talking about?”

 This evasive attitude feels very suspicious, and her way of speaking doesn’t match any of them. Moreover, considering the water spirit’s behavior, whether she is or isn’t the one, it seems highly likely that she is intentionally being vague because it’s interesting.

 One of the earth spirits is probably one of the two who spoke in a formal manner, and if the water spirit wasn’t like that, then by process of elimination, Wen would be the spirit who made those abusive remarks… Hmm, doesn’t seem likely.

 A spirit who would utter such abusive remarks wouldn’t willingly lend me their power. So, the water spirit was definitely the most suspicious.

 ”Oh, come to think of it, why are the earth and water spirits so fluent in human language? Wen still can’t speak fluently, and it was quite a struggle for her to materialize.”

 ”It’s simply because of the difference in the number of years we’ve existed. Both I and the earth spirit have been in this world for two thousand years.”

 ”Two thousand years… but people only started living here recently, right?”

 ”Well, it’s not like we’ve spent the entire two thousand years in this place. There have been times when we’ve spent twenty years in a human village, and times when we’ve spent three hundred years in a secluded mountain stream where no one comes.”

 ”Oh, I see. So even spirits have times when they move.”

 ”It’s not exactly moving. It’s just that we can no longerstay’ in that place anymore.”

 ”Not being able to stay… why is that?”

 ”There are various reasons, various. That’s why I won’t bother explaining them one by one. Even if you ask, it won’t be of any use, and reflecting on what’s lost is too much of a hassle.”

 Sensing an atmosphere of reluctance to touch upon this topic from the words and attitude of the water spirit, I became curious but refrained from inquiring further about it.

 ”Understood, I won’t ask any further about that. But may I ask one thing instead?”

 ”What is it?”

 ”What should I call you guys? It’s not ideal to keep referring to you as the water spirit, earth spirit, and so on forever, right?”

 ”It’s fine to call me the water spirit. I have no intention of getting close to humans like the wind. I’d rather not be called by a name given by humans.”

 ”…I see.”

 Upon hearing those words, I somehow grasped the water spirit’s position, or rather, her stance towards humans. Compared to the earth spirit, who takes an arrogant attitude and demands compensation for everything, the water spirit seems more approachable and easygoing, without asking for compensation for answering questions.

 However, she always maintain a certain distance from others and clearly reject those who try to get closer.

 Unlike the earth spirit, who would engage in transactions depending on the compensation, the water spirit, although not blatantly avoiding humans, seemed to have a visible reluctance to get involved with them more than necessary.

 ”Do water spirits dislike humans?”

 ”Does that question have any meaning? Or do you think I’ll answer that I like them?”

 ”Then why did you materialize in front of me like this and become my conversation partner?”

 ”Because that’s my job.”

 ”Job…? Are you receiving different instructions from the earth spirit?”

 ”Well, who knows? …Let’s leave it at that. We’re done with greetings, I’m leaving now.”

 With those words, without waiting for my response, the water spirit’s body disappeared as if melting into the water. It seems that she only appeared as a greeting and has no intention of getting involved more than necessary.

 ”That spirit was quite elusive.”

 ”That’s just the way she is. She’s always like that with me too.”

 ”Even with Lewya?”

 ”Yeah, it’s because spirits like her have been around for nearly two thousand years. Most likely, she had some unpleasant experiences during her time spent in human settlements. There are quite a few spirits like that, you know.”

 ”Is that so… So for the water spirit, the current settlement with its increasing population has become an uncomfortable place?”

 ”That’s inevitable. It’s not something Neil should worry about, and I doubt Neil started the settlement because he wanted to.”

 ”That’s true, but…”

 The reason why the spirits don’t say anything about the settlement is because, in the first place, they try to avoid having any contact with humans as much as possible. It might be misunderstood as Wen being friendly towards them, but there are hardly any beings who can be friendly towards humans who come to their territory and act as they please.

 From the perspective of the water spirit, we are like invaders, and she probably doesn’t hold much affection towards us or the current settlement.

 ”I’ve said it many times, but Neil doesn’t need to worry about the spirits. That’s just how spirits are by nature. Wen is the exception, and it’s not normal for spirits to be friendly towards humans or settlements.”

 ”…Friendly, huh?”

 ”Are you still not satisfied with the spirits?”

 ”Well, it’s not just that. I was wondering how many people actually think favorably about the settlement. Just a thought.”

 ”Are you talking about the newcomers?”

 ”Yeah, we know about the settlement from before and have spent a long time here, so we have an attachment. That’s why I wonder how it looks to those who don’t feel the same.”

 While there have been more problems due to the increase in people compared to before, I think it has improved in terms of convenience and liveliness. But that’s just my feeling because I know the settlement up until now.

 For newcomers to the settlement, they wouldn’t understand that and can only judge based on what they see now. I’ve tried my best to make it comfortable for people, but if someone who has no attachment to the settlement visits, I wonder if they would think it’s a good place.”

 As the governor of the settlement and someone who resides in this land, I wished for the newcomers and the spirits who have always lived here to think of the settlement as a “good place”… That was my hope as I immersed my body in the hot bath.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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