Compared to how worried I was, the situation is not as bad.
It was not like Myong Myong was being bullied and outcast by the villagers. Also, although I do not know who hurt Myong Myong, the bastards who did were probably all killed by the ghosts.
My work will be done once I resolve just this curse issue.
I leaned on the back support of the chair I was sitting on.
I was stiff and alert all this time. Now, I was getting relaxed, and that made me feel tired.
“Would you like to wait for a bit while drinking tea? We are preparing foods for Myong Myong. We would like you to wait for a bit and deliver the foods to Myong Myong later.”
I had plenty of food in the inventory, so I didn’t really need to get their help on this.
However, I knew that they were also worried about Myong Myong, so I decided to agree on the request.
While I was sitting like that, I suddenly thought of a question.
“The place I met Myong Myong at was at the center of the forest. Why was Myong Myong there all by himself? Even if you could not go near him, you could have helped him in different ways, such as leaving food on a pre-arranged place for him to pick up that’s nearby the village?”
Lalalila blushed a little and responded,
“It was Myong Myong’s choice. Our tribe members like helping others, and we live for that purpose.”
“I know. I’ve heard that many times before.”
“Also, as a negative side of that desire… We prefer not to… get help from others.”
“… Although it looked like he was going to starve to death, he left to the center of the forest because he didn’t want to get help? Myong Myong did that?”
“Yes… Our core identity and pride are about helping others and not being burden to others, so…”
No matter how hard I thought about this, they were too obsessive about these.
Even Dobi was not this diligent.
I could understand their reasons, but I did not feel the same about the issue.
“In response, if we receive big help from another, we spend our entire life to repay for the generosity. Myong Myong will most definitely try to do volunteer work for you for the rest of his life. A… Also… I… I… will… for you…”
Lalalila was blushing already, but now she was blushing hard. I was concerned she might have blood leaking out of her facial skin. Her face was so red.
She covered her face with her hands and continued to say that she would spend the rest of her life doing volunteer services for me.
Myong Myong was like this, and now Lalalila is doing this too. It seems this tribe members all cover their faces with hands when they are embarrassed.
“I’m merely delivering food for him. There is no need for you to do volunteer work for me for the rest of your life.”
Honestly, that feels burdensome on me.
Also, I’ll be leaving this place soon.
Their intentions and hearts are kind. However, I won’t be able to receive their kindness.
“N… No! My role is managing the village and the living arrangements of the villagers! Helping Myong Myong is my work. It is only obvious that I should repay you for helping me!”
She still had her face covered with her hands. With her eyes closed, she shouted those words.
She was being stubborn. I was aware that it was not about keeping the decision she made but a matter of her pride.
Myong Myong showed similar responses when I tried to help him when he was working.
She must be thinking it is also her work to repay me.
I just said I understood and she could do it.
Who was she going to do volunteer works once I’m gone anyway?
I accepted everything she asked. However, Lalalila said she also had one more request for me.
“What is it again?”
“Myong Myong would feel like he is being a burden to us if he notices that the foods we prepared are from us. Also, if you tell him that you will stay with him to protect him, he might go back to the inside of the forest again.”
Considering the behaviors of Myong Myong and the tribe members I observed so far, given their characteristics, I think he really would do that.
Now that I think about it, I didn’t tell Myong Myong that I will be escorting him back to the village. Instead, I told him that I was lost and I would like him to be my guide to get out of the forest. That really was a brilliant move.
“You want me to give suitable lies for those, right? I got it.”
“Thank you. Really, really thank you. Also, Myong Myong probably is not aware of what exactly is happening to him. So, please…”
“I got it. I’ll give him a simple explanation.”
It should be enough to tell him that the ghosts won’t be appearing around him anymore and he won’t have to worry anymore.
With marble-sized teardrops rolling from her eyes, Lalalila repeatedly expressed her gratitude.
To watch such a beautiful woman like her thanking me while crying… It is quite…
“Ah, I have not even asked the name of the one who had been so kind. Can you please tell me your name? We will record it and pass it down through the generations.”
I wish you guys didn’t do such things. It is making me feel uncomfortable.
I knew she was not going to listen if I said that, so I decided to tell her my name.
“I said my full name is Lee Ho-jae. My family name is Lee. My name is Ho-jae.”
“Ho…. Hooo… Jae? Pardon?”
“Ugh. My name is Lee Ho-jae.”
Lalalila suddenly got up and rushed out of the reception room.
She ran out in such a hurry that the cup of tea above the table was tilted over. The chair fell over as well. She ran out while making loud noises.
If I didn’t hear it wrong…
Just before she closed the reception room’s door, I think I heard suppressed laughter?
Is it just my mood?
Lalalila returned only after being gone for five minutes.
She came back with two other beastmen. They were carrying food supplies in full. Unlike earlier, she looked calm now.
I pushed in the supplies she handed to me.
“You have such a useful thing. Anyway, I was very rude earlier. I am very sorry. I apologize for the behavior. I didn’t know that our benefactor would make such a joke…”
“No. I am not joking. My name is Lee Ho-jae.”
“Kup. Koloc. Koloc. Koloc. Uuuhuuuk. Kolok.”
Their reactions are totally amazing.
The two other beastmen who came with Lalalila showed incredible reactions as soon as they heard my name.
One broke into laughter without realizing, and she poked her side to calm herself.
The other one tried to hold in the laughter and ended up coughing due to aspiration.
As for Lalalila, she turned around to face away from me.
Her shoulder was shaking. So, it seemed that she was having a hard time holding in the laughter.
It would be all right if I got mad about this, right?
I can be angry, right?
Of course, I knew well that my name sounded ridiculously funny to the beastman kind.
There were the cases with Kiri Kiri and Myong Myong.
However, it spoiled my mood, so it did spoil my mood.
I knew that they were not being intentional, but I didn’t want to let it be.
Unable to sit still, Lalalila and other beastmen tumbled and apologized. However, I shot back at them and complained how could they treat me like this when they said I was their benefactor. After that, I got out of the village.
Instead of making me feel refreshed, it made me feel uncomfortable instead.
Lalalila and the other beastmen were very apologetic.
Watching them kicking themselves over the matter made me feel sorry that I expressed my anger at them.
In the end, in awkwardness toward each other, I got out of the reception room.
Anway, just what does my name mean? Why are they reacting like that?
In the end, nobody was willing to tell me what it meant.
Should I pour in the information allowances to determine it?
Otherwise, should I make an information request through the Order?
Ask what the word ho-jae means in beastman’s language?
No, that is a little embarrassing. The meaning of it might spread to others too.
I left the village and returned to the forest.
Fortunately, it seemed nothing happened to the souls who had been protecting Myong Myong.
“Step aside, will ya?”
The souls did not step aside.
I tried to approach Myong Myong while ignoring the souls, and the souls screamed kuuuang, kuuaaang, like that.
Their arms were the size of tiny rice grains. They lifted their tiny arms up and roared at me. It was ridiculous.
In the process, they were getting tangled up and colliding with each other to stop me.
Aren’t you guys liking Myong Myong a little too much?
Fortunately, they responded to the disappear command.
With the souls surrounding him now gone, I could see Myong Myong.
He was one the ground, curled up in a ball.
Also, he was still sobbing.
I went next to Myong Myong and sat down.
It seemed Myong Myong knew I came. He lifted his head.
Still, I could not see the look on his face.
“I am sorry…”
Saying he is sorry…
It seemed that what he was mumbling earlier was also this.
I wonder what it is that he is sorry about?
Was he thinking he was being a burden and causing harm to me and the people of the village?
I raised my hand and brushed Myong Myong’s head.
“Thanks to you, I was able to get out of the forest. Thank you, Myong Myong.”
Having heard my words, Myong Myong lifted his head and looked at me in the eyes.
What a face…
I brought out a handkerchief and wiped off the tears from his face.
Even in middle of all these, Myong Myong was not comfortable with getting help from me. He held the handkerchief himself and wiped his own tears.
He is a lot calmer than earlier now.
“I think I’ll be staying here for a while.”
“Yes. Near here. If it is all right with you, would you like to stay with me for a while?”
I was intending on forcing the existence called the Great Mother to wake up. However, I didn’t know how long it would actually take.
Perhaps I will fail at waking her up and will have to wait for her to wake up through the ceremony that Lalalila mentioned.
“Yes. I would like you to cook meals for me, have conversations with me and go on walks with me while you are staying with me. Unless you don’t want to stay with…”
“Shall we get going then?”
His face brightened finally.
They say you would grow horn on your butt if you suddenly smile while crying. Still, it was good to see Myong Myong smile.
“Also, Myong Myong, I’ve heard about you a little from the village.”
His face darkened, back to how it was earlier. Oh my…
“The villagers said that the ghosts won’t appear around you anymore when the Great Mother wakes up.”
“Yes. Although we may have to wait for a bit until the Great Mother wakes up.”
Myong Myong was trying to hold it in, but he started to cry again.
It was not tears of sadness.
It was tears of relief and happiness.
I held Myong Myong in my arms and lulled him.
I checked the face of Myong Myong who was a sleep in the sleeping bag and then got out of the tent.
He was not even well at the moment, and he cried whole day long. Perhaps because of this, Myong Myong was very tired.
Using the food ingredients that the villagers packed for us, we haphazardly made food. I set up the tent and had Myong Myong go to sleep right away
I summoned the souls to watch over the tent and headed over to the mound that I saw during the day.
Because I was on an open field, I could see the night sky. It had been a while.
When I was inside the forest, thanks to the excessively lush trees, I could not see the sky.
There were so many stars in the sky. They looked as if they could rain down. In mists of all these stars, there was a moon.
It was a crescent moon.
As I walked while enjoying the night sky, I reached the mound soon.
I knew the way I needed to go.
From Lalalila, I didn’t hear the path that led to where the Great Mother was sleeping.
However, I could tell with certainty as to where to go.
I headed to the place where humongous amount of mana was being exuded energetically. There, I found a small opening. It was barely enough for one person to go through.
In front of this small cave, there were incense and food. They seemed to be traces of ceremonies.
This must be what Lalalila talked about.
Also, there were towers made of small rocks. They were piled up using pebbles the size of a palm.
There were writings in front of the towers.
Wising for health, long life, happiness, eternal love…
It seemed the towers were made by villagers while each praying for their small wishes.
I walked inside the cave.
The entrance was barely the size of a person’s height. However, as I walked in further, it became bigger. Eventually, the ceiling was over four meters tall.
At the end of the tunnel, I could meet the Great Mother.
The Great Mother was a giant fox. She was lying down with her body curled up in a ball.
I was not sure how many tails she had. However, I could see many tails behind her body.
Immediately after confirming her existence, I drew the sword from the sheath and spread mana.
It was time to smack the sleepyhead who ignored the alarm clock’s ringing.
Your back! Present your back, Great Mother!
[Welcome, human with a humorous name.]
[Put your sword away. I am already awake.]