「Even so, it was really surprising. 」
As I voiced out my opinion for the elves’ changes once again, Ravi who was beside me nodded with a serious face.
「It’s nice to train your body. You can see things from another perspective. We came to realize how much we elves have been relying on magic. And we’re reflecting on it. 」
Even the job of logging trees can be done with less people now. Loy explained that thanks to that they’ve been completing their work more easily. His smile as he said that warmed my heart.
「Ah, that’s right. I have a little request. ……Catlie, shall we explain it together? 」
While assisted by Catlie, we explained the reason why we came to the village.
「What, it’s something like that huh! Since it’s a request from Douglas-san. Please let us help out! 」
At Loy’s words, the other elves nodded and agreed as well.
「Is that so, that’ll really help a lot. Thanks. 」
「Uwawa, it’s amazing!! To be able to negotiate with elves! 」
Catlie expressed her touched feelings in a volume akin of a monologue. This can’t be called a negotiation though. It’s just that we are accepting the goodwill of Loy and the other elves.
「Douglas-san, please tell us how much you need. We will bring it tomorrow」
「Hey, you lot, we don’t need anything in return right? 」
「Yeah, of course. Since Douglas-san helped us a lot that time with the fire right! 」
The elves said so, but I started waving my hands in a panic. They were probably doing this because of the financial problem, but just like Catlie, I can’t receive it for free.
「No no, I can’t. Please take the proper market price. …… However, even though I know it’s a tough request……can you exclude the labor cost? We will be doing the logging ourselves. 」
「What are you saying? You’re our benefactor, and our friend. We can’t make you do something like that! 」
「Thank you. Loy. I’m really happy you feel that way. But you see, I don’t want to lower the value of people or things. 」
I told Loy and the others the same thing I said to Catlie. In the end, Loy and the other elves had no choice but accept to my terms while smiling bitterly.
「Alright. But let us at least lend you the tools and guide you through the forest. If not, we wouldn’t feel like we helped at all. 」
「Yeah. I will rely on you all for that. 」
Since everyone agreed to the terms, we went to collect wood immediately.
The forest that we headed under the guidance of Loy and the others was full of refreshing summer air. We haven’t visited their forest logging area last time we were here. Ravi as well, showed a rare behavior as she surveyed the surroundings while clinging onto me.
As we progressed like that for a while, we’ve arrived at a clearing full of stumps. The forest thinning was already done, as there were a few trees on the ground.
「Wa! There’re so many Hinosugi Trees here……! 」
As expected of a craftsman, she discerned the type of tree in a glance, and raised a voice of amazement.
「This is amazing! It’s such an unusual sight! 」
「It’s even rare for Catlie? 」
「Yes. Hinosugi is the highest-grade wood, you can’t find it easily on the market. And there’s so much here! 」
The budget is limited. Even if they give us discounts, can we even pay for it? I felt uneasy.
「It’s alright, Douglas-san. We will only charge you the wood fees. Please wait a while, I’m calculating it now. 」
「Alright, it’s done. If it’s the amount that the little miss bunny said, then it’s about this much. 」
Looking at the amount that the elf wrote on the paper. Nn!? Is it fine with this low price? Beside me who doesn’t know the market price, Catlie swallowed her breath.
「Douglas-san, frankly it’s super cheap……!! It’s even cheaper than the cheapest wood for construction on the market you know!? 」
「The cheapest wood can be gathered by humans near the forest in Balzac, but it’s easy to be damaged and the durability is really bad……. Compared to that, these Hinosugi are the best. It feels warm during the winter and cool during the summer. I’m sure the guests in the inn would be happy! 」
「Such a good type of wood……. Loy. Are you really fine with this price……? 」
「Yeah. Properly like our promise, I excluded the labor cost. Since the logging is done now, all that’s left is to pack as much as we can on the carriage huh. 」
「So it’s fine if we take the ones that already fell? 」
「Actually, that’ll be a huge help for us. Since now is not a period suitable for logging. 」
Trees during the summer absorbs a lot of water to grow, so they are the heaviest during this time. That’s why logging is best done on fall or winter.
「So we lay down the trees we cut down to let them dry first. 」
「I see. That’s how it is huh. 」
Since I couldn’t stand the fact that we are getting such a discount with just the condition of us carrying it ourselves, I proposed to help with their work if they don’t mind. Probably having sensed that I would not give on this one, Loy agreed, smiling bitterly.
「Then, mind if you lend a hand in our trees replanting? 」
「Eh? During this season? 」
Catlie asked as if surprised.
「Actually we were supposed to do it during the spring. But since we were busy rebuilding the house that burned down, we didn’t have time to get to it. So, if you’ll lend a hand, it’ll be a huge help」
「I see! 」
I was relieved that I could be of some use here.
「Daddy……I want to help too」
「Me too! 」
Ravi and Catlie both raised their hands.
「Ah! Then the both of you can help with weeding. That’s also one of the important steps we do in the summer to protect the tree seedlings! 」
Nicky said so.
「It’s the job that the children in the village do. 」
Loy added on.
「So the children also help out a lot huh. 」
Even inside the forest, the weather is hot. In the winter, there will be an entirely different set of difficulties for logging.
「It’s going to be difficult. Will you be fine……? 」
「It’s because it’s a difficult task, that’s why there’s meaning in helping out」
Since we knew what we were supposed to do, we started working. Firstly, according to Catlie’s instructions, we carried out the wood that is needed. Since I can use muscle power to carry multiple logs at once, it was completed in no time at all.
It’s just that the elves would cheer and say, 「It’s the muscle power! 」, all while clapping their hands, so it was quite embarrassing……. After the packing work is done, Nicky taught Ravi and Catlie the art of weeding.
「Using this scoop, you have to dig until the roots are completely out. Since if you only pluck it, then it will just grow out from the roots. 」
「Nnnsho……. Like this……? 」
「Wa, Ravi-chan is doing well! I won’t lose too―! 」
Even though it wasn’t a job they’ve done before, the two of them were having fun as they continued weeding.
「Douglas-san, then can I leave you with the afforestation part? 」
I moved together with Loy and the others to places where there are no trees growing. Since the figure of Ravi and the others pulling the grass out is still in sight, I can be relieved.
「Here’s where we cut down the trees and left it for a year. Can I ask you to help plow it? 」
「Is that all? 」
「Since the roots of the other trees nearby have grown to here, plowing it is quite hard. And you must also make sure not to damage the roots too badly. 」
I see. So that’s why they can’t just roughly dig up the ground huh.
「Just the small portion over there, it took us five days with multiple people working on it. So, if Douglas-san will help, we will definitely make a lot of progress in a day! Since Douglas-san himself is worth a hundred man! 」
「No, I will finish it in just a moment. 」
「Can all of you take some steps back? 」
While the elves had expression that painted confusion, they took distance. ……Since it’s a wide area, I don’t really have to adjust the affected area too much.
I imagined the scale of the magic in my mind. After confirming that the elves have properly taken a distance, I put my hand over the ground, and chanted earth magic.
The ground let out a cracking sound as it rose up. It was as if a giant mole dug in the ground, the elves who saw this raised a voice of surprise. And just like that, I dug up all the soil that was indicated in the area.
「W-what was that, it’s too amazing……!! 」
「To plow through that much soil in an instant!? 」
「And it was done so gently……the roots weren’t damaged at all! 」
The elves crouched down and checked the conditions of the soil excitedly while I who struggled a little to control the strength of the plowing exhaled a sigh of relief.
「Wow Douglas-san! It’s all done in an instant! 」
「With this, we can start planting right now! 」
The elves hit each other’s shoulders while raising load voices of happiness. It would be nice if that was good enough to compensate for their labor cost. While thinking like that, I lightly patted away the dirt stuck on my palm.