68: Lapisia's feelings (Arc 3 Epilogue 1)


After we had defeated Barrier Muuk, we formed groups with Lilille and the elves and eliminated the rest of the demons that were stationed at the stump.
We finished after several hours.

--But, we couldn't find Barrier Muuk's egg.
Although Lilille and I looked all over the place with "Truth Sight", we weren't able to find it. At the end, we concluded that he didn't have one.


Evening.
Tables were set up next to the root of the stump and a small banquet was held.
Even so I call it a stump, it was still creating a wall with a height of ten meters.
The elven women and children who evacuated were also participating, so it became a banquet of about 500 people.

The elves are coming to me in turns while I eat.
They sincerely give blessings to me.
"You were amazing" "Thank you for avenging my brother" "As expected of a hero" "Now we have hope for our children, thank you very much"
Everyone shed tears of joy when they said their words of gratitude to me.

The elves are a long living race in this world, but it seems that each one of them has suffered for a long time.


Of course I didn't defeat Barrier Muuk alone and it would have been impossible without Lilille and Lapisia.

However, the elves only saw the moment, when I directly killed him, and thus I gained tremendous trust.
The story quickly made the round and they decided to carve a life-sized wooden statue to worship me.
--Because of the race characteristics, there were many "Light"-attribute virgins among them. There were ten.
The corners of my lips spontaneously rise.


I'm speaking with Jagd, the chieftain of the elves. He's a handsome middle-aged man with a refined smile.
"Hero-sama, thank you very much for your help this time. We just can't thank you enough."
"No, it was only natural to help. Also, I didn't do it alone."
"Just as expected of a hero. You properly judge your own strength. I heard the details from Fioria. She said that you wish to become a Valor God, so we want to support you with all our might."

"Is that so. Thank you. Then you'll erect a bronze statue?"
"No, we will carve it out of a dead branch of the World Tree, which is even harder than iron. We decided to pass it down along with the story, how you defeated Barrier Muuk."
"I'm in your debt."
"No, no. It's been a while since there was a hero who didn't demand money. We really admire this trait of yours."
--Which reminds me, there seem to be quite a lot of people, who become heroes by bribery.
"I'm not really concerned about money."


Jagd looked troubled when he spoke.
"Although it pains me to make another request to you, after you already did so much, but..."
"What is it?"
"The World Tree is extremely weakened. We'd be really grateful, if you could bestow it with your blessings, Hero-sama."
"I see. Understood, I'll head there together with the saint after the banquet."
"Thank you very much."
He lowered his head very deeply.

And then, the banquet lasted until late at night.

======

Late at night.
The desert is illuminated by the moonlight.

I, Lilille and Lapisia are walking around the World Tree.
Our destination is a sprout, that is growing from the World Tree.
It's quite arduous, because we have to bypass its roots, that are just like walls.
Lilille carries her egg on her back and Lapisia carries hers in her hands.

We arrive after we have walked for about one hour.
A young sprout is growing from the stump.

"Is it this?"
"Looks like it."
Lilille answered.
Although it has just grown, it was thicker than a human arm.


"Lilille, shall I bestow it with the power of wind while you bestow it with the power of water?"
"Yes, please."
"And Lapisia, you'll bestow it with the power of earth. Stretch out your hand and give magic power to it. Get a little away, because the sprout will move violently if you're too close."
"Understood!"
She holds the egg in her left hand while she points her right hand at the young leaf.

I and Lilille also point our hands at it.
The young sprout is gently wrapped in green, blue and brown light.

Then the light vanishes as if it is sucked in.


I patted Lapisia's head and spoke.
"Well, this should be sufficient. Too much will be toxic."
"Yes, this is plenty. Thank you very much, Keika-san."
"It was nothing. Lapisia also gave her best to adjust her magical power."
"Cured! Much"
Lapisia happily swings her twin tails. She lightly rubs her sleepy eyes.


Lilille spoke.
"Now then, Keika-san. I have various things that I want to talk to you about."
"Me too. But it's getting late. I'd like to let Lapisia sleep before that."
"You're right. I still want to talk to Lapisia first though."
"Hnn? Talk? Auntie"
Because she was suddenly spoken to, Lapisia answered while she was yawning.

Lilille speaks while she takes the egg from her back.
"Lapisia, you did well to notice the true essence of the egg. You prevented a calamity. You really did great."
"Calamity?"
"What do you mean by true essence? I only heard, that atrocious monsters are born from them when they are raised by demons."


Lilille speaks while she strokes the egg.
"Actually, the eggs don't only have creatures inside of them."
"Huh?"
"They also contain more general calamities like 'Starvation', 'Disorder', 'War', 'Panic' and so on.

"Couldn't that plunge the world into a chaos?"
"Yes, that's why it is necessary to turn them back to white."
"I see. That's probably the reason why Lapisia didn't want to give the black egg back to the dragon."
"Lapisia, Great!"
Lapisia bent her back while she was holding the egg.


Then, Lilille held her egg towards Lapisia.
"Now then, Lapisia. Let's exchange the eggs. I'm done with the purification of this one."
"No! I raised! Will raise!"
Lapisia held the egg like she was protecting it.

"You became attached to it, huh. ...But, you won't be able to raise it after it is born."
"R, Raise! I mother!"
She brushes Lilille's hand away and doesn't want to hand the egg over.

--I see. She warmed the egg to protect the world as a Mother Earth God.
But because she was lonely, being separated from her mother, she became attached to it at some point and tried to fill the hole by becoming a mother to it herself.


"Hmm, this is probably partly my fault as well. I didn't really know what to do. I'm sorry."
"It couldn't be helped, since you didn't know about the rules of this world... Well then, Lapisia. This egg is the same as yours. Please endure it, because you can't completely purify it."

Lapisia holds the egg and starts to cry.
"This child, different! Not same! Always with me! So I raise!"
"Do you know, how to bring up a child?"
"Know! Pat, Warm, Kind!"

Lilille puts her egg in the sand and gently embraces Lapisia.
Lapisia was struggling within her arms, but Lilille strongly and gently hugged her close.
Lapisia's movements gradually weaken.
"Lapisia. Just like you have a mother, these children have a mother as well."
"Ah... but"
"Do you want to see your mother?"
"Want!"
"Then, what about these children?"


Lapisia's very young face was distorting when Lilille asked her.
"*Uu... uuu!! * *Uwaaan!* --Definitely, want meet mother! *Uwaaan!*"
"Then, what shall we do?"
"Children, back to mother! *Uwaaan!*"

Lilille gently caressed Lapisia's head while she was crying.
"That's right. You did well. But letting it go is also one of the parts of 'Raising'."
"Mother! *Uwaaan!*"
Lapisia was hugged by Lilille.

At that moment, a dazzling light shone.


The "Proof of Hero" is flashing.
"Member (Lapisia) has risen a level"
"Acquired a new skill"
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Lapisia
Gender: Female
Age: 257
Race: Half-God
Job: Earth Mother God Lv 4 (Know the sky)
Class: Healer, God Art User
Attributes: "Fertility" "Radiant Soil" "Sacred Ground"
Assignment: Hero Keika Party

[Parameters]
Muscle strength: 90K (20K) (+0) max ∞
Agility: 50K (10K) (+0) max ∞
Magic strength: 160K (20K) (+0) max ∞
Wisdom: 70K (10K) (+0) max ∞
Luck: 999 (0) (+0) max ∞
Believers: 0

Vitality: 700K
Mental strength: 1.15 million

Attack strength: 90K
Defense strength: 100K
Magical strength: 160K
Magical Defense: 70K

[Equipment]
Weapons: None
Protective Gear: [Silver Dress] A dress filled with motherly love Defense x 1.5 [Nullify All Abnormal States] [Recovery with Elapsed Time]
Accessories: Ring

[Earth Mother God Skills]
Earth Energy Collection: Gathers the energy of the earth in yourself or another god. Attack strength x Lv value.
Earth crust turn: Reforms the earth by pulling the surface and putting it back.

Terraforming: Can transform naturally occurring elements like soil, sand, rocks and minerals into other known naturally occurring elements.
--------------------
--I see. The raised children will one day leave the nest. A farewell always comes.
Just being gentle and teaching them isn't enough.
I couldn't understand this because I've never raised a child.


Lilille gently hugs the crying Lapisia.
I drew closer and stroked Lapisia's head. She now cries slightly less.
"I'm sorry, Lilille. I'm quite useless."
"Have you always been single, Keika?"
"That's right"
"You also still seem to need to grow as a god, huh. Please give your best."
"Yeah... I'll do my best."

I made a sullen face because I felt that myself.
Lilille is happily giggling. Her white veil is lightly swinging.
"So, she has now learned Terraforming, huh?"
"That's right. It looks like she can transform all matter within the limits of natural elements. This seems to be another large-scale technique-- How about transforming this desert? It should have been a forest in the past."
"That might sound good. ...What do you think about that, Lapisia?."


Lapisia raised her head while she was still sniffling.
"*Sniff*, Hmmm? ...*Sniff*"
"We were thinking about whether you might want to try to change the desert into fertile soil."

Lapisia looked around the surroundings while she spoke.
"No?... Yes?"
She wracked her brain while her sniffling increased.
She seems to be troubled.

"What's wrong? Is it difficult?"
"Hmm~...Raising"
She pointed far into the desert while she spoke. Wild Sand Lizards, Sand Beetles and sturdy plants, that were nourishing the land, could be seen.
Sand Dolphins were jumping in the distance. The whirled up arcs of sand are illuminated by the moonlight.

"Ah, I see. Because a new ecosystem has been born, the beings, that are living in the sand, might die if it's greened."
"Yup. Soil, sand, both earth"
Tears fell and wet the sand when Lapisia nodded.


"Well done, Lapisia. You're properly thinking about it as an Earth Mother God.-- By the way, why did it turn into a desert? Was it because the World Tree was cut?"
Lilille shakes her head.
"No, it's different. The World Tree was growing in the fertile soil which was overgrown with vegetation, but after it was cut, it sucked in all the nutrients and liquids from the earth to oppose the demons while continuously putting forth sprouts."
"I see... that's harsh. The demons might have been the original cause, but in the end it was a decision of the World Tree God. Well, there won't be any problems anymore, since we have bestowed it with power."
"That's right. Also, I think that the desertification shouldn't progress any further now."

"Buuu...t~"
Lapisia is earnestly troubled.

If this would have simply turned into a plain desert, she wouldn't worry about it and probably wouldn't even think about making it into soil.
It's puzzling because the Demon Lord is to blame for this.
"Then how about only turning the sand below and around the World Tree into soil. We can leave it to the World Tree, how much desert should be left."
"Good! I do, Keika!"
She put down the egg and wiped her tears. Then she placed her hands on the ground.

Her hands glowed yellow and a growling sound could be heard.
The earth shook with a *gogogo*, like it was signaling an earthquake.

"H, Hey. Don't turn the crust by mistake!"
"I know-- *yee--hah*!"

The earth vibrated similar to a landslide with a *zuzuzu* and the nearby sand started to shine.
The light spread like a wave above the surrounding sand and turned it into firm ground.

Lapisia, who was crouching, collapsed. Her blue twin tails are spreading on the ground.
"Hey. Are you okay?"
When I held and raised her, she was peacefully asleep. Her eyelashes are long.

Lilille looks at her sleeping face from the side.
"She has probably exhausted her mental strength. I think that she has to further practice the usage of her God Art."
"Practice, huh... Speaking of which, I can't teach her about her God Art at all."

"Why is that?"
"Because I'm a God Monk. And I don't know the magic of the gods over here. I think that it's similar, but I know very little about earth magic from the start."

"Is that so"
"Lilille, could you please teach her, even if it's just the basics?"
"...I guess I'll have to give my best for my cute niece. I'm also weak with earth though."
"You'd help me a lot."


Then I climbed the World Tree while carrying Lapisia and sat down on its top, gazing at the desert and the night sky.
Lilille brings the eggs and the luggage over and sits down next to me.
So just the two of us could talk.