Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Forest Capital Maple」
The next day, just as the sun had begun to peak over the mountains in the east.
In front of Raratoia’s small transfer shrine.
The structure was built into a tree in a similar manner to Dylan’s mansion, with the branches and leaves above casting a shadow over the area.
Ponta sat atop my helmet as Ariane tried to suppress a yawn, while Dylan stood ahead of us since the village elder would be our guide today.
As a People of the Mountains and Plains, Chiome would require special permission to enter Maple, so she would be staying behind with Glenys today.
When we entered the shrine, the first thing I noticed were the tall pillars that supported the entire structure.
In the center of the shrine was a circular, elevated platform that had a faintly glowing magic formation etched into it.
Dylan briefly spoke with the elf in charge of the transfer shrine before we all stepped onto the platform, the formation shining brightly as a floating sensation overtook us.
When the lights settled, we were in another location.
While the structure of the building remained unchanged, the scale of everything was larger…… instead of one magic formation, there were multiple platforms in the room.
Unlike the small shrine from before, there were multiple guards in the more furnished and decorated room…… it seems we’d successfully transferred to Maple’s shrine.
After exchanging a few words with the guards and a few other people, Dylan ushered us towards the shrine’s exit.
“Hmm, so we’ve arrived at Maple, the center of elven power.”
Despite the less than ideal circumstances that brought us here, I was a bit excited about setting foot in the elven capital I couldn’t visit until now, even Ponta’s fluffy tail swayed from side to side as she let out an excited cry from the top my helmet.
Ponta…… since fluffy foxes were a rarely seen spirit beast, she was gathering a lot of attention from the elves.
The scenery completely changed when we left the shrine under the gazes of the crowd.
In contrast to the quiet Raratoia, a sprawling city had opened up before me.
While there few tree buildings in Raratoia, the streets here were lined with them, paved roads running up and down the streets and a multitude of elves were going about their own business.
Even though it was in the early hours of the morning store owners were already barking into the crowd for potential customers.
The energy here was higher than in any human market I’d been to, and just watching it all filled with a sense of wonder and vigor.
Among the streams of elves, several unexpected figures caught my attention.
They were around a hundred and thirty centimeters tall.
Although the size of children, but their arms were thick and log-like, their bodies had a stout build to them, their ears were slightly pointed and they had beards that extended to their waist. It was obvious that they were far from being any type of elf.
Ariane seems to have anticipated my question and answered me without looking back.
“Those are the dwarves. As far as humans are concerned they died out long ago, but they’ve resided in Maple for quite some time.”
Dylan turned around and added a warning to her explanation to me.
“Of course, it’s a secret that they are living here.”
When Dylan turned back around, Ponta and I both nodded our heads in understanding.
As we followed Dylan, Ariane began filling me in on the secret history of the dwarves. Eventually, we came upon the largest of the tree-buildings.
o;Hmm, the humans hunted the dwarves for their metallurgy technology……”
Ariane pointed her index finger at me when I interrupted her history lesson.
“First chieftain Evangeline decided to protect them, so don’t tell a soul outside of the forest. Understand that, Arc.”
Ariane looked me directly in the eye as she pushed her warning on me.
“Even if you tell me that, I already carry the name ‘Raratoia’.”
I pounded my chest armor to convey my comprehension.
Ponta joined in and stuck out her chest.
When she noticed the gazes of the surrounding people watching our exchange Ariane froze for a moment.
It seems that a silver knight stood out wherever he went, when I looked around, everyone seemed to be staring at me.
Ariane didn’t seem to like the attention so she began chasing after Dylan, who’d already left the area, and I began following behind her.
The city of Maple was an exciting spectacle to behold, while the tree-buildings resembled high-rises from my former world, the organic plant matter they were composed of reminded me of both a futuristic and fantastical setting.
Especially the aerial walkways between some of the larger buildings would be a difficult feat to achieve, even with modern building technology.
I was deprived of the view when Ariane began tugging the edges of my mantle, urging me to follow after Dylan, who’d pulled ahead again.
“Should we visit again sometime? Chiome-chan and a bunch of other people are waiting for us, so we should finish things up first. However, I understand how you feel.”
“Sorry, it’s just such a spectacle……”
With Ariane’s suggestion, I reined in my emotions and began hastening my pace towards our destination.
Eventually, the buildings gave way to a large, open space.
A tower which soared well above the conventional buildings, seemingly piercing the sky, stood in the center of that space.
While its canopy was rather sparse compared to the Dragon King’s Tree, this tree’s trunk was thicker and it definitely stood taller. The tree deviated from the shape people associated with trees, resembling a baobab more than anything.
“…… like the mythical Tower of Babel.”
I unconsciously nodded and said “exactly” to my own observation.
Dylan was heading directly towards the giant tree tower.
The group of guards stationed at the base of the Tower of Babel took notice of me as I approached.
Dylan called out to the guards and spoke with them for a bit, after which the guards promoted us to enter, so Ariane and I did so.
The inside resembled the lobby of a high-class office-building. There was even a receptionist sitting at a desk, who greeted us with a smile.
When the receptionist caught sight of Dylan she signaled for a female guide, who stepped forward and urged him to follow her.
The guide took us to a collection of cylindrical rooms and herded us into one of them.
The cylindrical room wasn’t that large and sparsely furnished. There was an elevated platform with a crystal ball embedded in its center.
It gave me an impression of a small fortune-teller’s station, but when our guild placed her hand on the ball, it began emitting light before I felt a floating sensation.
I was a bit surprised when the circular platform soundlessly began to climb the cylindrical room.
It was just like an elevator.
No, it may be more advanced than that give its mechanisms.
There weren’t any wires in the room, the floor itself just rose under its own power.
It was a type of elevator you’d see in a Sci-Fi anime, I wandered around the platform and examined it out of curiosity, enjoying the mystical feeling to it all.
The guide gave me a wry smile, whereas Ariane’s face had turned a shade of red.
Eventually, the floating sensation and the platform stopped and our guide prompted us out of the room.
When we got off the elevator, there was a bridgeway that connected the various sections of the tower to one another, overlookin the entirety of Maple.
The spectacular scenery was so inviting I wasn’t able to stop myself from walking up to the window and basking in it.
“Oh, such an amazing view……”
The view of the city filled with tree-buildings spread out below me, I could even see a dome-like sports stadium from here.
A magnificent lake that seemed like the sea stretched from the northern and southern edges of the city, the thick morning fog making it seem like the few fishing boats I could make out were sailing in the sky,
This breathtaking view alone would be enough for me to recommend this place as a World Heritage Site.
However, I also remembered that there were various other locations I would’ve liked to nominate.
The Dragon Valley, the Dragon King’s Tree, the Black Forest and the Kinrei Mountains on the Southern Continent, were all beautiful if you took away the monsters.
Revisiting the different locations in my memories caused me to let out a sigh until Ariane’s tugging on my mantle dragged me back to reality.
“Hey, you’ll be left behind if you don’t hurry up.”
When I looked towards the source of the comment I saw Ariane’s troubled expression. Dylan and our guide were looking back at us as they waited.
“Sorry, it was just……”
I apologized to Ariane and advanced until we came upon a set of luxurious doors.
Both doors were decorated with vividly colored plants and entangled ivy.
Since Dylan and I had planned this meeting in advance, I took my canteen from my waist and began drinking the spring water I collected this morning through the gaps in my helmet.
While I prepared myself, our guide and Dylan entered the room and we were granted permission to follow shortly after.
Beyond the flashy doors, there were a few decorations and a little furniture in the room.
The room was rather large, but it’s most eye-catching feature had to be the huge central round table and the eleven people sitting around it.
There was neither a higher or lower seat, it was a round-table-meeting.
While the majority of the people seated were regular elves, there was a warrior-like dark elf and a dwarf as well.
These people were the apex of the Great Canada Forest’s power……
In other words, they were the ten great elders and the third generation chieftain.
They took a look at us as we entered the room before exchanging words with the person seating closest to them.
Most of the gazes were directed at me, but they were more of a systematic evaluation of the man in full body armor than anything else. I couldn’t help but not to be the main topic of discussion.
“It has been a while…… Elder Dylan.”
The elven man that sat furthest away from us was the first to speak up.