The horse carriage runs along the side road after splitting from the main road. Occasionally, a streak of lightning flashed in the skies. The surroundings are dark even though it’s still afternoon.
(Their invitation really saved us……)
The rain only became heavier as time goes on. If we were to stay under such circumstances, Ravi would surely catch a cold. As I glanced behind, the boy was trying his best to converse with Ravi while Ravi had a stiff expression and nodded uncomfortably sometimes. She was also alone in the orphanage, it seems that she’s also bad in dealing with children of the same age.
(It’s quite a troubling matter. There’s also her nature)
I’m also not good at socializing, so I do think I understand Ravi’s hardships. As I was thinking that, the settlement hidden in the woods came into view.
(Here’s 『The Elves’ Lush Village, Floria』huh)
The name of the village came to my mind as it’s recorded on the map I kept in the rucksack behind me.
The village that has its own water spring in the center, and all the houses were built on top of trees. It’s what you call treehouses. Even when its vibrance is hidden due to the heavy rain, the scenery reminds you of the wonders of living together with nature.
(It really has something that catches your heartstring……)
But it’s just, everyone’s here is taking shelter in their houses, so there weren’t any figures of other elves around.
After I helped the elf father to put away the carriage in a small hut, Ravi and I together were invited to his residence. The father is named Loy while the son is Nicky.
There weren’t any rooms in the house, everything from living room to the kitchen is in the same place. And in the corner of the house were the laundry hanging to be dried indoors. It seems that the bath and the washroom are shared in the village.
As expected, the elf family put up their guard as soon as they saw us. It’s to the extent of his wife and grandmother were shaking in fear while looking pale. But they seemed convinced after hearing to Loy’s story, and bowed deeply to us.
「Sorry about that just now. Since it’s raining so heavily right now, why don’t you stay here for a night. 」
「We will serve you with our elven dishes. 」
「My wife here is the number one chef in the village you know. 」
His wife, grandmother and grandfather started a conversation with me one after another.
「Even so, staying over is a little……」
「『We’re both with a child, so don’t hold back』right? 」
Loy imitated my words earlier.
「I can’t really say anything now that you’ve brought that up. 」
I smiled wryly and said, 「We will be bothering you for a night」and bowed lightly.
「Please take a sit here.」
It seems that elves don’t use chairs and tables. There’s a large piece of rug on the spacious living room, and the elves sat together in a circle there in the order of Loy, grandfather, Nicky, grandmother. After greeting us once, his wife had gone to the kitchen to prepare for dinner.
That day, the dinner was very lively. I imitated the elves sitting crisscross and eating while hunching down a little. Meanwhile, Ravi didn’t imitate me but sat down on her legs like a ‘W’1 .
I was a little panic every time she moved a little. As expected, wearing a one-piece and sitting like that doesn’t seem good.
The dishes were brought out in a large platter, after taking your, you pass it to the person beside you in order. Elves don’t eat any kinds of meat. Naturally, they only use vegetables for their cooking. But it had more variety than what I imagined and that surprised me. On top of that, it tastes great.
「――That means you would be travelling quite a distance to Balzac. We elves don’t really go out from our settlement except for trading, so I can’t really imagine travelling that far……」
The family nodded at Loy’s words. The only time we had such a merry conversation was only the soup sharing during the dragon subjugation. So, Ravi seemed really happy because of that too.
「Hey, uncle! You ever seen a mermaid!? 」
「Yeah. There were some pirates that enslaved the mermaids in the southern seas. I’ve fought with them when supporting the navies. Their singing voice was really melodious……」
「You heard it before!? 」
「But when I tried singing back, I was too tone deaf that they ran away……」
「Wow―!! What about those rock monsters that can talk!? And the rainbow-colored night skies!? 」
「But it’s been 10 years since then」
「Really!? Then say, you’ve seen a dragon!? 」
「Nn? There was one recently 」
「How about you!? Did you see it too!? 」
Ravi’s shoulder shook from the sudden question directed to her. The reserved as usual Ravi nodded slightly, then Nicky looked jealous while saying 「That’s so nice, I wish I could’ve. 」
The idle talk continued even after we finished up our meals.
「Thanks to Douglas-san, I had a valuable experience today. Being able to talk to someone from a different race like this is a first for me. 」
Loy said so appreciatingly.
「We elves might be really missing out on this too. 」
Compared to the idle talk just now, the topic became a little bit awkward for me to reply casually. Of course, having a meal together would improve relationships.
But at this moment, my bad socializing skills turned on me. I don’t know how to reply properly when it’s such a large topic.
「Do you think we should be more opened up to the other races too? 」
While I replied without thinking, Loy had a serious expression, and he continued on the topic regarding Elves. After the grandfather and grandmother had filled their stomach, they had started to drowse and nod off. Meanwhile, glancing towards the children. Nicky accompanied Ravi and taught her regarding the acquisition of skills and the Elves’ herbalism knowledge excitingly. Ravi looked serious and nodded continuously.
(Ravi is like me that she’s also a bad listener……)
As I smiled wryly, Nicky unexpectedly started chanting the aria for light magic. A small bright light manifested on his fingertips with a pop.
My eyes widened in surprise. I’ve heard that elves are specialized in life magic.
(But to think that he acquired one at that age……)
Ravi was also surprised like me. Her eyes opened wide and stared at Nicky’s palm.
「Daddy……can I do that too if I practice……? 」
I blinked blankly because of the sudden question towards me.
「……Ravi, you want to learn skills? 」
It was unexpected as she didn’t show such signs before.
「It can’t be helped. I will personally teach it to you then! First, the aria is, 《The Spirit of Light, grant upon me the power to illuminate the dark――Light Magic, Shining! 》. You must memorize that. 」
Ravi nodded with a serious face and started muttering the aria repeatedly to memorize it.
「Then stretch out your palm, and gather the energy inside your body like you’re squeezing it out. 」
「It’s like squeezing a sponge. 」
「Try it out. 」
「And chant the aria while doing that 」
Ravi tried it, but nothing happened on top of her palms.
「Of course it’s impossible for the first time. Try it for a few more times. 」
But the light never appeared on Ravi’s hand no matter how many times she tried.
「Fufun! Difficult right. Even I took a whole month, of course it would be hard for a human! So, don’t look so depressed! 」
The boy said that pridefully and rubbed his nose.
(Hey boy, stop that……. Doesn’t she look so disappointed now……)
It’s not that Ravi didn’t have talent, anyone would had had difficulties at first. Especially the acquisition of the first skill that can’t be understood simply by anyone, even the life skills would increase in difficulty because of that.
(Crap. How should I encourage her in occasions like this?)
「It isn’t because Ravi did bad! In the first place, she might’ve not had the compatibility for it! 」
I tried to follow up desperately but, Ravi’s expression only grew cloudier.
「Then……I can’t learn it even if I practice……? 」
「Just let my grandpa take a look at you if it’s about compatibility! 」
「Does he has an ability assessment skill? 」
「What are you even saying, uncle. Doesn’t all the elder elves have that? 」
(Even though it’s a special technique that only human sages have……)
As expected the elves’ skill technique are much advanced than humans.
「Hey, grandpa, come on! 」
The grandpa woke up with a 「Fuga―」 after being shook awake by Nicky.
「Grandpa, can you take a look at her skill compatibility! 」
「Mu―……What is it……? 」
The grandpa that had sleepy eyes, looked at Ravi――
「What is it……She has……probably……maybe……」
After saying that, he returned to nodding off.
(……I can’t tell if that’s a positive or negative)
I looked at Ravi worryingly, and she seemed to have an upset expression.
(No good, she looks like she’s gonna cry……!)
「It’s fine! If he said probably, that means you probably does have it! I won’t force you if you don’t want to practice! 」
「I-I……will do it. 」
「Hey, how about uncle showing her an example too」
「Yeah, that sounds right. Rather than thinking about it, seeing it and feeling it is the right way to learn skills. 」
After Loy and Nicky saying that, Ravi finally raised her face slightly. I panicked slightly as I didn’t want to lose this chance.
「U-umu. It’s indeed like that! 」
(Alright! I will try my best to help Ravi……!)
I put my spirit into it and chanted a simple light magic.
《The Spirit of Light, grant upon me the power to illuminate darkness――Light Magic, Shining!》
An intense ray of light was manifested on my hands.
「S-so dazzling……!!!! 」
Everyone there covered their eyes with their arm.
(Crap……! Too much……!)
To mismanage my skill output, it’s the second time after the fire magic when I met Ravi. The grandfather and grandmother who was sleeping woke from the ruckus.
「Nnaaa……!!?? Is it morning already!? 」
I cancelled my skill immediately and apologized deeply to everyone.
「To think that it was just a simple light magic, and such brilliance……. Who are you actually……!? 」
「Well! That was such a divinely light! How about we give a prayer! 」
「T-that’s so cool……!! Amazing, uncle……!! 」
The surprised voice of the family rang out while Nicky’s eyes shone. While I was still a little apologetic, I explained that I was just a traveler with a child.