Blackening had been strengthened by Grid's rapid increase in demonic power during the Eternal War. After all his efforts, he managed to create Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle with the effect of the title Watched by the Gods. In addition, fighting energy had started to accumulate around him from the moment the elves appeared. Finally, there was the Weakened Great Demon Astaroth's Power.
In the heavy pouring rain and the demonic lightning, Beniyaru hesitated. Her pupils, which could be seen beyond her disheveled white hair, were trembling.
'How did this happen?'
It felt terrible to experience it personally. One of the 12 Te… One of the noble elves of the 12 families was forced to kneel before a human...? It left a big blot on the name of 'Te', which meant to protect.
"Did you sell your soul to the great demons?" Beniyaru's gaze was filled with strong hostility as she glared at Grid. Her problem wasn't with Grid's demonic energy. Demonic energy wasn't unique since countless people obtained it from black magic or artifacts in the past. However, this field was different. It was an ability that raised a storm filled with lightning demonic energy. This was a force reminiscent of a monarch of hell!
"Wicked human...! You joined hands with a great demon to invade the territory of the elves! Isn't there a limit to your greed?" Beniyaru's sharp voice, which was filled with mana, penetrated through the storm. If Grid was an ordinary player, it was likely that the flow of his mana would've been disturbed and he would've suffered from all types of status conditions.
However, Grid stood firmly in place. "Why are you always jumping to conclusions?"
The rain stopped, and the sky which could be seen through the lush leaves was now cleared up. Grid couldn't handle the large mana consumption, so he stopped using Storm Demonic Energy Field. This caused Beniyaru to misunderstand. 'Is he saving his strength? Didn't he want to kill us?'
This wasn't good news. Despair filled Beniyaru's face. "You...! You intend to sell us to slavers!"
The elves were truly narrow-minded toward humans. It was a biased negative view. Despite her strong force, Beniyaru seemed to be a coward.
Grid's eyes were filled with pity as he looked at her. Beniyaru believed her thoughts to be true, so Grid didn't blame her or feel frustrated. He actually felt pity because he was reminded of his past self.
"The reason for your twisted personality isn't just your own problem. I think you have been greatly hurt by humans."
"..." Grid's kind voice caused Beniyaru to shake. She was dumbfounded for a moment before shaking her head again, filling it with hostility toward her enemy. "Don't tell me you understand when you don't know anything about us. I don't need gentle expressions or sweet whispers. I will never be deceived, no matter how you try to fool us!"
"Ah, what a mess."
It was almost impossible to have a conversation with the elves, much like talking to a wall. This was a reality that would disappoint the many players dreaming about meeting a beautiful elf. However, Grid wasn't disappointed. After all, he hadn't come here to meet the elves.
"Well, let's not speak for too long. Listen up. I will state my position."
Hearing Grid's domineering tone, Beniyaru and the other elves gulped. The tender skin of the female elves could be seen through the clothes made from woven leaves. They were afraid of the terrible sentence the human would hand down to them.
"First, I will introduce myself. I am Overgeared King Grid. I am a descendant of the legendary Pagma and the king of a human kingdom. I have not made a contract with a great demon. I used a power that I got in exchange for killing the great demon."
Then Grid came forward and said, "The reason I came to this place was to hunt the bear-wolves. I had no idea that this was your territory. I'm sorry if my actions frightened you."
"I don't want to be hostile to you in the future. As a king, I have an obligation to lead exchanges with other species in a positive direction. You can keep feeling doubtful and being wary. Just let me stay for a while to hunt." Grid was calm after introducing himself, and he shifted his gaze to the clear sky.
It was due to the way that the elves were dressed. They were half-naked with only a few leaves covering their important parts. Grid didn't have the courage to gaze at them from the front. He didn't want to be mistaken as a pervert in his first encounter with the elves or for distorted rumors to spread.
His decisive yet innocent appearance caused Beniyaru and the other elves to lower their guards slightly.
"Legend... I see. That transcendent force is convincing if you are a legend. Is she a legend like you?" Beniyaru's gaze shifted to Mercedes. Mercedes was still staring at Beniyaru because she couldn't forgive any attacks on Grid.
Grid grabbed Mercedes' hand to calm her down. "Yes, that's right. She is also a legend."
"I see..." In the end, Beniyaru was convinced of her defeat. She had no idea about the Pagma that Grid mentioned, but she knew about Povia. Povia was a child born between a human and an elf. She was a poor child who had lived an unhappy life without belonging to any society, until she achieved transcendent power and became a legend.
"...The legend that I knew was a sublime presence. You are credible. Okay. You can't be seen as a normal human. I will trust your words. As one of the 12 Te, I give you permission to stay here for a while. The bear-wolves are also a threat to us elves. It isn't bad if you hunt them."
"However, don't go too deep into the forest. Your actions will be limited to this area."
"Yes," Grid answered readily.
Meanwhile, Mercedes was embarrassed. She stared at Grid's big hand that had wrapped around hers and whispered hurriedly, "Your Majesty, this is the perfect opportunity to peek into the elves' society and discuss future relationships with them. Are you going to miss this chance?"
The elves' archery was even more spectacular than what was recorded in history. It was clear that the elementals were beyond their expectations. Mercedes thought that the Overgeared Kingdom and the elves should develop a good relationship. Of course, Grid was the same. "I know, but look at their attitudes. If we rush our approach now, they will just raise their vigilance. We shouldn't be hasty. Another chance will come someday."
This was a situation where rushing it wouldn't end well. Grid had learned patience from numerous experiences.
"I think it is great enough just being able to stay in the elves territory."
"Yes, I understand." Since the king had already decided, Mercedes didn't sit down anymore.
"Then let's get started." Grid made a happy expression and pulled out his broken furnace and hammer. First of all, he would start with the repairs. However, the darkness of the forest disturbed him. It was so dark that any delicate work seemed impossible.
"The trees grow so thickly that the sun isn't shining through well..." Grid hammered for a while before stopping and looking around the forest. All types of trees and bushes were growing wildly. The elves loved nature, so it was the aftermath of neglecting to control the trees and bushes.
Grid had planted small maple trees, persimmon trees, and plum trees in his garden after building the penthouse. As such, he was familiar with pruning and could observe that the condition of the forest wasn't that great.
He pointed to a giant tree in front of him where the surface was torn and said, "If you really care about the trees, you should prune them. The trees that grow indiscriminately have become intertwined with each other and are deformed. No sunlight can pass through, so the moss growing near the roots are deprived of nutrients, making them vulnerable to pests and diseases."
"...?" Beniyaru and the elves were embarrassed as Grid started preaching to them. They couldn't understand Grid's words properly.
"Pruning? Pests? What are you saying?"
"A helping hand is needed to make the forest healthier."
"What type of sophistry is this? Nature is perfect when it exists as it is."
"Don't pretend to know human subjects!"
There was a backlash from the elves. However, Beniyaru was different. She could see the glimpse of an old friend in Grid.
'He is saying the same thing as Povia...'
Povia had claimed to have learned human knowledge from her human parent, yet the elves had laughed at her. Many people had ridiculed the pathetic half-breed, and Beniyaru had been one of them. She waved her hand, thinking she should believe in Grid. This was atonement for Povia. So, Beniyaru decided to make a request. "You... Overgeared King Grid."
"Can I hand over management of the forest to you?"
"Eh?" Grid was panicked over the sudden proposal.
Beniyaru bowed to him. "I think there is enough evidence for your argument. I would like to ask you to do the pruning."
One of the elves, who were famous for their pride, was bowing down to a human while making a request...? Moreover, this was an elf who had tried to harm him just a little while ago! Mercedes' eyes widened as she stared at Grid, impressed by his greatness. 'His Majesty intended all of this!'
Mercedes was ignorant about plants and didn't know anything about this situation, but it was obvious that Grid was the one driving this situation. Grid started sweating as Mercedes' shining gaze focused on him. 'No, what...'
[Tend to the Elven Forest]
Beniyaru, one of the 12 guardians who defend the elves, has a request for you.
She wants you to make this forest beautiful!
Quest Clear Conditions: Prune 2,000 trees (0/2000)
Quest Clear Reward: Affinity with the entire elf species will increase by 20. Leaves of the World Tree (20), Fruits of the World Tree (5).
Quest Failure: Your relationship with the elves will become hostile.]
"...I'm not a gardener."
Yes, Grid was a blacksmith. So, why did he receive quest meant for a gardener? Grid had come here for equipment and to level up. He couldn't afford to waste time pruning 2,000 tree branches.
'How hard will it be to strike the trees?'
This quest should be rejected! Grid wanted to shout out loud.
However, the quest reward was the problem. The leaf of the world tree that he had given to Sticks was a panacea. Grid was intensely curious about what effect the fruit of the world tree would have, since it seemed more precious. Additionally, the increased affinity with the elves was also crucial.
Grid didn't accept or refuse the quest. It was because one person passed through his mind.
He was a legendary farmer who knew crops! Maybe Piaro had also specialized in the management of other plants, including trees? Grid thought of this and immediately used Knights Summoning. The legendary farmer and the elves—this would be the first meeting between people who cherished nature.
Had Piaro thought his king was in danger? Piaro had felt anxious and immediately responded to the summoning.
"Elves..." He faced the elves while holding a hand plow and sickle in his hand. The elves sniffed him, and their faces became flushed.
"A wonderful man..."
The smell of soil around Piaro's body struck the elves' emotions. It was fortunate for Grid. "Okay. From now on, I will make armor while Mercedes will eat honey. Meanwhile, Piaro will prune the branches with the elves."
Grid's method of handling things wasn't wrong. In the first place, subordinates were meant to be used. However, Grid's subordinates were a legendary farmer and legendary knight...