Chapter 165 – Shocked!
“Wha-what is this?!”
Alyssa shouted when she saw the iron carriage that was moving by itself.
“It’s a carriage that runs by burning coal…is what I heard.”
Rienna answered without much confidence.
To be honest, I too was not sure about the principles behind it. But Mappa had created it so effortlessly.
Alyssa took her time inspecting the iron carriage and the tracks it ran on.
“So this part here with the chimney is what replaces the horses… We do not have many horses in our country. But if we had something like this…”
They could not grow grass to feed horses in that climate. It wasn’t just horses, but any kind of livestock would be difficult.
In a way, Sheorl was similar, as we had very limited amounts of land to grow our crops.
Pastures…we didn’t have anything like that on Sheorl. Perhaps I should make one.
I was thinking about such things when Alyssa suddenly shook her head with an apologetic expression.
It wasn’t just food that they needed.
However, she felt bad about relying on us for anything else.
“Don’t worry about it, Alyssa. We also want to help with as much as we can. Besides, we have a lot of iron. Of course, I don’t know if we can actually make it…until I ask Mappa.”
While Mappa had a lot of monster apprentices, I was worried if they could work without him.
Even when it came to the construction of this railway, he had often come to inspect their work.
Mappa…I hoped that he was alright.
Before I knew it, my mind was filled with thoughts of Mappa. In spite of appearances, he was still a child…
Well, this was Mappa.
Surely he was just wandering around somewhere.
Besides, Fule and the Kobold brothers were searching for him now.
Ashton and Haines should be able to find his scent.
“Lord Heal? Lord Heal. We’ve reached the surface.”
“Huh? Oh, ah, Rienna. Well, Alyssa. We arrived…”
Alyssa remained in the carriage with her jaw open wide.
“Th-that tree is like a mountain…”
“It’s big, isn’t it? We were surprised when we first saw it as well. This is the World Tree…”
“World Tree!? The mythical tree!?”
Rienna and I looked at one another.
I hadn’t known about this plant known as the World Tree before. No one in Sanfaris knew about it.
However, Demon King Elto did.
According to her, they were once very common on the Elto continent.
“You know about the World Trees, Alyssa?”
Alyssa nodded with a serious expression.
“Ah, yes. The center of our world…the holy place, used to be under such a tree.”
“In other words…you mean…”
Rienna realized it immediately.
That tower that we had come out of after walking through the gate…
“Yes. That tower was once a World Tree…or so it is said. It died a long time ago.”
Alyssa muttered as she stared up at the World Tree.
That tower was a World Tree…while it had the size of one, I still had questions regarding that.
Rienna also seemed to think it was strange, and immediately asked about it.
“But, Miss Alyssa. That tower looked like it was made of stone materials.”
“That was done after the royals fled into the holy place. For defensive purposes, the dead tree was surrounded in stone and made into a tower.”
“I see… But why did it die in the first place?”
“It was over a thousand years ago. When Arancia was at the height of its glory. Our ancestors expanded their lands farther away from the World Tree’s reach. And they were able to grow vast fields and more crops than they could ever need without the blessing of the World Tree. And so it became more of a symbol of their faith.”
Eventually, the World Tree became something that people no longer needed.
“It was then that the authority of the royal family reached its peak. However, at that point, the king was no longer at the top.”
I understood what she meant. However, Rienna looked quite puzzled.
It was the same in Sanfaris. The king was the god’s representative on the surface, and was tasked with uniting the people.
Even in other countries, it was necessary to convince the people that the king’s position was something granted to them by god.
In other words, even though the king is at the top of the country, the people just saw them as servants of the gods.
In the past, clergymen had been imprisoned for saying such things. Clergymen had been trying to increase their voice in political spaces for a while now.
When the authority of the king was weakening, it was convenient to use the names of the gods.
However, when the power of the king was strong, they could turn into something very dangerous and end up threatening their own authority.
Alyssa had a sad expression as she opened her mouth.
“The king set fire to the World Tree, which was said to be impossible to burn… To show the world that he was the master of nature.”
While he did not deny the gods, he wanted everything that could be seen to be his.
Rienna said, and Alyssa nodded.
“However, it didn’t hurt anyone at the time. No one starved when the World Tree was gone. But a hundred years later, Arancia entered a long age of civil war. It was then that people first started to publicly object to what had happened. And now…”
So it was the king’s pride that created this situation.
Perhaps if that World Tree was still alive, it could have saved them from this current disaster.
Alyssa looked at me with a worried face.
“Perhaps you…have nothing to worry about. But…”
“Yes. I’ll remember what you said. Nature does not easily return to what it once was. Perhaps I’ll have Baris teach it to the others in school.”
“Let’s do that.”
Rienna and I nodded somberly.
“…In any case, Alyssa. We should talk about food now. How about we discuss it under the World Tree while eating?”
“D-do you mean it? N-no…I am in a position to lead the others… I cannot eat here without them!”
She said this in a strong voice as if trying to persuade herself.
However, Rienna patted her on the shoulder.
“Please don’t say that. You won’t be able to think properly if you don’t eat. Besides, we just discovered the right amount of honey to put into the tea!”
Alyssa’s mouth opened dumbly.
“H-honey… Oh, but I really couldn’t…”
She protested, but Rienna was already pulling her towards the table underneath the World Tree.