Year 78 Month 8
Valtrian Order’s Orphanage for young children is up and running, all we needed was a building where we could build rooms, and then employ people to take care of the kids. As a rule, I insisted that the children we take in are less than 12 years old, such that. Those older are able to find work and can live on their own, in this world, for humans, 13 is quite a normal age to start holding some kind of semi-permanent job, either as an apprentice, or some kind of live-in worker, and this norm is also seen in the other non-humans.
In New Freeka, connected to the orphanage large building is a few subsidiary trees, two of which are [training rooms], for teaching and sparring. There would be quite a lot of young orphans in this world, after all, with so much war and slaughter going on, it is only a norm that families are often broken. Anyway, my intention is to train these orphans, those willing, into warriors for the Valtrian Order, and so the remaining Valtrian Order soldiers are regularly coming to give the young kids some simple lessons. In a way, it acts as a ‘feeder’ into the future Valtrian order guards.
For monitoring and tracking, one of the subsidiary trees is a biolab, with multiple pods. The decor is intentionally bare, and I had the herbalist use it as a ‘medicinal’ room, to mask the true intent of the pods, which is… to take magical snapshots of these orphan’s progress over the years.
Feedback in terms of the orphanage is mixed, and even from the orphans themselves. Many of them are living in empty, abandoned homes, some taken in by the people of New Freeka. Some orphans themselves resist the structure and rules that an orphanage have, and prefer to continue living on their own.
Well, my view to Laufen is, don’t force the kids. If they want to live on their own and think they can and know better, go ahead. Either the world will teach them a lesson, or they will truly show their mettle.
Out of the town’s population of 50,000 or so elves, dwarves and centaurs, about 500-1,000 or young orphan children, but not all want to stay in this new set of quarters, so it’s often the really young ones. There are also families who cannot or are unable to raise their children, so they surrender their children to the orphanage.
Oh well. I’m not going to be the moral police, so whatever men and women choose to do with their lives, that’s their problem. I’ll take the kids, and I’ll use them.
The good thing is, it puts some jobs on the table, as the orphanage hires a lot of workers, to cook, to care for the orphans, to teach, and some retired, elderly men also help out as trainers.
The thing about old people in a world with great and frequent destruction, is often they are quite high leveled. Being on the run for decades must have given them a lot of survival related skills and actual [skills], either they are good at fighting, good at running and hiding, or good as improvising and making the most of what little they have.
Ah well, I guess there has to be some truth to the old people being awesome trope after all.
“Eat this.” Lausanne stares at the green fruit right in front of her. She picks it up with her tiny hands, and she shakes it.
“It does not look ripe.”
“It’s not meant to be ripe. Eat it.” It’s a green fruit, made out of the passive seed, [spark of brilliance]. It’s small, the size of a grape. It’s lime green, and from my point of view, it has a faint green glow to it. It’s my first time creating a fruit out of the seeds.
“Uh… okay.” She starts to chew on the small fruit.
She walks a few steps, her mouth chewing.
“Okay I ate it. It tastes sour, but it’s not horrible. Is this some kind of new fruit you want us to sell, TreeTree?”
“No. It’s a special fruit. Just for you.”
“Huh. If it’s a special fruit, shouldn’t it be sweet and really yummy? It’s quite sour, and I can still taste the sourness on my tongue...” Lausanne downs a cup of water, probably hoping to wash off the taste.
“Not all things in life are meant to be sweet, my dear Lausanne.”
“Is that some kind of word of wisdom I should remember?”
“Is this why you called me here, TreeTree?”
“Not just this…” If I could smile, I would. “Lausanne, would you like a special familiar contract?”
Lausanne immediately nods, “Yeah sure. Special in a good way, right?”
[Lausanne has accepted the special familiar contract. 50 star mana consumed. 1 star mana will be consumed per month].
Star mana. I have 300 star mana at the moment, that’s the maximum number of star-mana storage organs I have, and with the current maximum number of star-leaves, I produce 30 star mana a month.
“Oh wow. Is this like Uncle Jura’s Bamboo?” She activates the familiar, and then two large twisting roots emerge from her body, and they transform into a wooden sword and shield, Lausanne’s current favourite fighting combination. “Whoah it responded to me! Can you hear it TreeTree?”
“I can’t.” Well, the familiar doesn’t have an artificial soul, but it probably has a kind of ‘programming’ to it, like an… animal?”
“Well, it just says, sword and shield mode.” Lausanne grins. “But it’s cool. I can tell it things in my head!” The wooden sword starts transforming into a whip.
Huh. That is pretty cool.
“And it can change shape!” Lausanne tries out the whip, and it works like a rope too, allowing Lausanne to pull herself forward. “I can use this to swing from branch to branch too! Like the monkeys!”
“Don’t let your mom see that.” The idea of a young little girl swinging around like Tarzan is probably going to make Laufen have a headache.
“Ah yes ah yes. Sorry I got excited.” The two roots can transform into various shapes, but there are certain limits to the size and length. “It’s kinda cool that they don’t drain my mana as much as the normal familiar too!”
Ah, I suppose that’s the benefit, stronger, more flexible, but cost less. I suppose the star mana that I give it is supports it?
“Thank you, TreeTree. This is nice.”
“Good. Let me know if you get any skill notifications tomorrow.”
“Okay!” Well, the next day, “Erm… I didn’t get a new skill, but one of my skills transformed.”
“Oh, which one?”
“It’s the [Blessed by a soul tree]. It’s now [Blessed by a soul tree - advanced].”
“Huh…” Well, that’s amusing. Now she’s even more compatible with my abilities… I hope she doesn’t eventually transform into a tree.
“Well, the cool thing is, the roots are a bit longer and bigger now. I think it makes my familiar stronger!” I see, so the special familiar’s effects are going to be less impressive on the other guys. Now I want to know whether I can fuse this special familiar with an artificial soul.
Lausanne shows off her slightly bigger sword and shield, it’s wood, of course.
“I’m gonna go practice. Don’t tell mom I’m in the forest.”
Well, Lausanne did try to be a monkey, and she’s using two roots like vines, to swing herself from tree to tree. But only with the bigger trees, since the smaller trees don’t have enough clearance.
Oh dear, what have I done.
Year 78 Month 10
Demon king preparation status check.
The demon king appeared Year 70, Month 4.
The demon king died about 5 years ago, around Year 73 Month 3 Week 2
Going by the 10 year gap between demon kings, that means I should have at least about 5 years left. 5 years is a good amount of time, but halfway there, it’s time to discuss the matter again.
“So, the next demon king should be about 5 years away, we won’t know for certain, but that’s the approximate time range. What should we do?” Well, the audience is myself, my treeminds, Horns, Alexis and Meela. I’ll have another discussion with the Valtrian peeps next time.
“It depends on the type of power the demon king has.”
“We won’t know until he appears, and we’d be running out of time if that’s the case. What are the normal, common powers a demon king would have?”
“Extensive destruction abilities, and demonic hordes?”
“So okay, how do we prepare for that?”
“Hide? There’s really no way we can fight back unless we have the powers of the heroes, and running is out of the option.”
“Agree, hide. So that means we need to figure out a way to make use of the tunnels and the abandoned dungeon as some kind of shelter, and build barricades and strong gates.”
“Uh, I think that’s missing the point. TreeTree, you’re massive, you can’t hide.”
“That’s fine, but it’s more for everyone else around me. I think I can take whatever the demon king’s horde can throw at me… except the demon king himself.”
“So what are you going to do if the Demon King himself comes for you.”
“We’ll think about it then. For now, let’s work on the plan to hide.”
“How about the [ThreeTree of Mana]? We can’t hide that.” It’s DImitree who brings up his part of the world. “If necessary, we need to build a massive wall around it, one that even the demon king can’t destroy?”
“That’s impossible, if there’s one thing the demon king doesn’t lack, it’s destructive firepower.”
“The elves say there are other trees who manage to somehow make their forests disappear. How do we do that?”
“That’s hiding. And well, that’s a good point. If there’s an ability to temporarily warp the valley into pocketspace, that’ll help.”
I’ve got no skills anywhere near that level, though I suppose [secret hideout] is like a slow step on that path? Perhaps someday, I’ll get the ability to create a massive secret hideout that includes myself in it. Though that’s probably going to make my mind melt, because the secret hideout is inside me, but I’m inside the secret hideout. So what’s inside what?
“Can’t the demon king detect such abilities? Seems kinda odd that an incredibly powerful monster like itself would allow such things to happen…”
“...Are demon kings… sentient?”
“I have no idea. It has a certain kind of intelligence, but sentient… no one has ever communicated with it.”
Year 78 Month 12
With volcano project hitting a slow spot, I decide to try other projects.
Tapping on the Valtrian Order's growing network of contacts, I am now aware of three faraway sites that I want to explore.
Further up north, some movements of the ground revealed a previously covered massive hole, that goes really, really deep. It's as if somebody dug a hole vertically down. It’s currently spitting out many different kinds of snake-monsters and snake like creatures, which is why I suspect it is likely to contain some kind of magical source. That said, my data is quite lacking. Currently being extensively attacked by adventurers, as the snakehide seem to fetch good money, and also its a new large dungeon, so plenty of adventurers are trying to make their way down. Travel time by beetle is 2 weeks.
2nd, in one of the regions near the Nung-Salah border, there’s a few dungeon-like areas. There’s no detected leyline, but there are still a lot of monsters appearing in that area. As the area is rather sparsely populated and heavily damaged from all the battles, there's not much adventurer attention compared to the snake-hole, but the presence of multiple dungeon entrances and unusual monster do hint at a dungeon. If so, I want the core. Travel time by beetles, 2 weeks.
3rd site, is a deep into one of the nearby kingdom’s territories. A lake with seems to be inhabited by magical beasts and strange, unusual plants. Rumoredly, magical. 3 weeks away.
My first choice is the one with the potential leyline, but that means I have to deal with the adventurers. Still, leyline is too good to miss out, so I’m going to start my subsidiary-tree-expansion to that location.
The dungeon-like areas, if I do attempt those, would be for the cores. It’s a good reward financially, and I’d like to study cores in much more detail, perhaps there are variations to cores between dungeons. If a core is sentient, or has the potential to be, I would like to attempt using an artificial-soul on one. My suspicions are they would work similar to a root-brain complex, and that would be something fun to test out.
The drawback is… the active warzone. Salah and New Freeka is at ‘peace’, the Nung-Takde & Salah War is still ongoing, with the situation at a stalemate. It seems they are periodically still fighting battles on a few fronts, though both sides are not trying anything bold to end the war. It’s an odd state, skirmishes here and there, even though trade routes have been strangely re-opened. I’d like to scout out the location, so I plan to have some beetles in the location, just to find out where these ‘dungeons’ are.
As for the lake, it doesn't seem to be that much of a problem, just far away. New types of plants is always welcome, if magical and potentially rare plants, even more, ans this seems more appropriate for a small strike force. Send the guys in, get the strange plants, and get out. Simple, suitable for a covert strike team of beetles.
“I want to go.”
“Take my probe-etle there.”
“Is that a name you came up with?” Sounds like something you stick up an arse. Who do they call that again… is it endoscopy? Oh wait. It sounds like probiotics! The kind of weird bacteria shit those multi level marketers try to sell!
“It sounds better than scout beetle, doesn’t it?”
“I have two probe-etles, I want to see the lake. And the giant hole in the ground.”
“Yay. Meela~ Do you wanna go? You should totally consider fusing with one of the beetles, then we both can still go travel. You can be my probe's bodyguard!”
“Wait, you can see through the probes?”
“Uh, yeah. It’s called a probe, right? Of course I can see through the probe.”
"I don't want to be a beetle. That's disgusting." Meela probably is frowning. "I'd rather be a tree."
"I take offense to that statement." Horns chimes in.
"Aww come on. We finally get to do some travelling!"
"I rather like the relative peace and safety here. I might get attacked as a beetle, and people will hate me, I can't cope with that!"
"Meela that's a lie and you know it."
The two girls seem to be arguing, but it's rather friendly kind. So I ignore them.
One of the merchants brought garlic and ginger today, apparently really popular with nobility for cooking.
[Crop variety - Garlic] added. You can now produce essences of garlic and garlic flavored woods, fruits and saps.
[Crop variety - Ginger] added. You can now produce essences of ginger and ginger flavored woods, fruits and saps
Ooh that's gonna stink some people. I wonder whether they have stinky fruits in this world… like… durians? They should, right?
But you know, this recent about garlic and ginger gave me an idea. I have the ability to produce fruits, vegetables and herbs. What if I set up a market, and sell my produce? Or even better, set up a restaurant? I'm not sure how many restaurants they have in New Freeka, but certainly, if I have the ability to procure and produce unique types of vegetables and fruits, that would give me a unique selling point!
I could make special ginger-ginseng soup. Or fried potatoes with garlic, herbs and spices
"A restaurant? You need cooks though. A chef!"
"But it could work!"
"You girls know any recipes from where you are from?" All I know is how to cook instant noodles with eggs.
"Uh… I might. But honestly…"
"If I get an ability to create a [Tree-kitchen] or [Res-Treerant] I'll fuse you to it."
"Does that mean I'll be stuck in a cooking game forever?" Meela seems frightened by the prospect. Oh wait, did they not know I can reassign them, because their souls are stronger than the artificial souls?
"I think a beetle is still better."
"But a cooking tree sounds like an appealing idea at least. It could even end up a case where I could be the spirit that runs a hotel and restaurant. It's like those cooking simulator games!" Meela laughs.
Alexis looks a bit concerned. "Meela, are you sure you want to be a…" Her dreams of travelling with a beetle bodyguard fading away...
"A hotelier! And master chef!"
"Wait. You're not serious." Alexis facepalms, only, she's a spirit so all she could do was soundlessly smack herself with her ethereal hands.
"Maybe one of your [subsidiary tree] with a room. I can probably acquire the job as [chef] and [innkeeper]."
Alexis looks horrified. "Meela, if you fuse with a tree you can't get job levels, job levels are for humanoids only! My skills so far are all because my creature-type is research tree spirit. So no!"
"Eh. TreeTree, can you make a tree decorated with multiple hotel like rooms, kitchen, dining and cafe area?"
"I… I can try." Huh, true, forcefully decorating a tree such that I get a different tree type. That's like the playroom and training room, it might just work.
"Okay TreeTree, I, Meela Adams have decided on my career path! If you can make one where I get the right type, then I'll fuse with it."
"Meela, you serious?" Alexis's flying up and down. "You won't even know if there are tourists? We have no data on tourism and travel traffic! How do you know it'll work out? How many people even eat out?"
"What's the worst that can happen? I'm a tree! It's not like I'll starve to death if the hotel and restaurant fails."
"Meela!" Alexis shouts.
"It'll be fine, Alexis. Of all the options offered to me, this actually seems like fun! Chef and hotelier! That's a whole lot more interesting than looking at a lab all day. I could even open branches! Hotel-tree branches! Getit? I could be a moving tree hotel. Or a popup store! The wandering treehotel-restaurant! Maybe even add a convenience store!"
Alexis slams her head into the trunk of her biolab. It doesn't really hurt.
"If trees can move, then I could be a coconut hotel & restaurant tree by the beach!"
Hey, that's an interesting idea. Giant treants, but is actually a walking hotel.
"TreeTree, can I name my hotel and restaurant? I can, right?"
"Uh, sure." Hey, Meela wants to be useful, if naming rights is all she wants...
"I'm gonna call the hotel, the Meela! And the restaurant, the Fried Mee! And if there's a Cafe, it's gonna be the Cafe Meelatte. Oh TreeTree, you should totally get coffee beans."
Alexis smacks her face into the trunk, multiple times. She's not feeling any pain, I think she's just doing it to vent her frustration with Meela's inane choice.
"Alexis, you can name your lab too. I'll give you an idea. You can name it, A-Lab-is. It's like your name, but with a lab in it. Or Labalex. That's cool too."