The Vampire Empress.
An earth vein, according to the books, is a hidden vein that connects directly from the planet’s core which unlike the cores of my other world, are made of pure and condense mana which allows the world to become even more nourished than ‘earth’ itself.
The veins themselves carry what the planet thinks as ‘dirty’ mana but to the humans is called ‘pure’ mana and redistributes them to the land through a pipeline of some sort. In a sense, this world is a superior plane to Earth—though the veins still have the name ‘earth’ despite the planet being named as ‘Alpha’.
“That does make sense when you think about it, but wouldn’t an earth vein require a sinkhole for the mana to escape to the upper land?” Leo asked while the two of us walked our way towards the gate.
“You are both correct and incorrect. What the earth vein requires is a pipeline, not a sinkhole. It is the misconception of the people that only sinkholes or any kind of large hole that digs deep into the ground are needed to let the mana escape,” I answered before his eyes widened.
“Are you saying there is another way for mana to escape from the earth vein?” he looked at me with surprise as I smirked.
“It’s not there is, but there are,” I replied, “You can theoretically collect mana from an earth vein through pathways like rivers or lakes, plants can even act as a pipeline themselves. There are so many other ways for mana to escape from an earth vein, in fact, if it was only sinkholes or holes then this world wouldn’t be filled with mana.”
All the books from the library conclude that mana from an earth vein cannot escape without a sinkhole or a hole in general, but after researching about it for a few hours, I came up with a separate theory that breaks that thought process and understanding they have. First and foremost, you have to take into consideration that the mana of the world comes directly from the core which is blocked by piles of land.
The only way for mana to be released to the upper land is through what they call ‘earth veins’ but if mana can only escape through large and deep holes then wouldn’t this planet be low on mana with the exception of the core?
And so, that is where my theory comes to play: Mana from an earth vein can be excavated through other means that come from nature, such as plants, bodies of water, or natural land holes like sinkholes and so forth.
To prove my theory and to find an answer as to how this town used to have a lot of mana, I looked around the library for plants that grew natural here and also plants that have a certain unique aspect to them, mainly those that were deemed useless and lo and behold, I found the exact plant that fits everything.
Planta Mana, a family of ‘weeds’ that consumes mana and redistributes it back to the land; the plant is deemed useless because the plant basically loops the mana back to the land while taking a share of its own. It has no fruit or any edible parts which is why people deemed it as useless.
“Hmm—but it has been tested many times that plants themselves cannot do such,” Leo argued as we stepped in front of the gate, looking a little bit over the distance as the little elf on my hands snuggled up to me.
“Are you perhaps forgetting about Planta Mana?” I gazed at him with a smirk, “The plant that is deemed useless since it is a waste of resources to plant, especially since it only consumes mana and redistributes ninety percent of the mana consumed back to the land.”
The theory I concluded talks about how Planta Mana can act as a special pipeline to the earth veins below, most researchers never tried planting it on farmland where an active earth vein is located, instead, they planted it on pots which made it dependent on humans to give it mana—my theory is that if we plant Planta Mana directly on farmland where an active earth vein is located then it would excavate mana from the earth vein, take a share then redistribute the rest to the upper land.
In a sense, you can think of Planta Mana as a dam. It produces energy while also consuming energy for itself to function. The source used to produce the energy comes externally but the process of converting the source to energy comes internally—in this case, the earth vein is the source, and the plant is the internal that converts.
“I will explain to all the people we trust later; we will still have to check the border walls for any traces of Planta Mana that were removed from this place. From the books I read back in the palace, Planta Mana used to be a major plant in this land which means if they did a mass purge of the plants then the pipeline for mana to escape would be blocked, leading to this ‘curse’” I explained while looking around.
“My lady… I don’t know whether to call you a genius or someone cautious to detail, but I am convinced over what you have said. Indeed, according to what I heard from Father, the town did a mass purging of this Planta Mana since it was deemed as a waste,” he explained.
“Let me guess, a year after the plants were purged, the mana around the town reduced down to fifty percent and kept dropping, is that correct?” I gazed at the distance before turning towards him as he nodded.
Then that helps prove my theory, unless there is another factor that caused the downfall of the mana around this place like perhaps an actual curse, there shouldn’t be any problem that will occur once we begin replanting the plants in the far future.
“Can you lead me to one of the farmlands that you have been through in the past?” I asked before he saluted without hesitation as the two of us soon started dashing towards a land near the walls. There were dozens if not hundreds of dead Planta Mana laying on the floor.
The land was drier than the desert. It wouldn’t even be called a farmland at all with how dry it was, you wouldn’t be able to tell it was a farmland in the past if it wasn’t for the fact that there were hundreds of dead plants all around the land.
“Hmmm… we could approach it this way,” I mumbled to myself while imagining out a customized technique for planting. My idea is that we could plant a Planta Mana every fifteen plants.
It may become a bit of an overhead since that is a lot of pipes that will excavate mana from the earth vein but we aren’t just taking into consideration of the plants but also the humans and all other lives of nature that will also consume that mana.
“Mama…” the little elf on my embrace suddenly poked my cheeks, confusing me as she looked at the ground, pointing down as she said, “Mama… warm below, can feel!” with her eyes glowing.
Both Leo and I were surprised upon hearing what she had said, something warm below—does that mean she can feel the earth vein?! An earth vein is located super deep under the ground which means theoretically, she shouldn’t be able to feel the mana from the earth vein.
“Are you saying you can feel the mana from the vein?!” I looked at her and asked before she nodded, “How much mana can you feel?”
“A lot…” she answered.
“It seems like the earth vein is still hyperactive, that’s a relief…” I sighed before looking at the little elf and patting her back as she snuggled up to me happily, “If the earth vein is still hyperactive then we can start moving towards my plan of planting one Planta Mana every fifteen plants since they would act as a pipe or an excavator that will excavate mana from the hyperactive earth vein and redistribute it around.”
“To think that I would meet a future sage here, as well. We already have a hero who could cause a medium-rank wolf to explode from a kick, and coincidentally, there is already someone who could become a great sage in the future… should I say this is the golden age of the kingdom?” Leo showed a bitter smile.
Right—there is this little elf over here who has possibly the most sensitive body in the entire continent right now…. And by sensitive, I mean sensitivity towards mana—you lewd brains! Anyhow, if she is indeed as sensitive as I imagine then I might have found a great piece to bringing me a happy future where I can sleep without doing anything.
“Anyhow, do not let a single word about her mana sensitivity leak out!” I looked at Leo in the eye, materializing my scythe as I threatened him with it, “I won’t allow you to speak a single word about it until she is of a mature age.”
“I understand…” he said with his arms up as I nodded with satisfaction.
“Anyhow, we’ll have to return to the town hall immediately. I need data over how much funds we have remaining on the town, we will need a few dozen of gold coins to purchase a lot of equipment, food, and all those other necessities to upstart the town once more,” I sighed, “If there are no funds then we can try requesting the embezzled funds from the royal family.”
“That is if there is any remaining,” he refuted which caused me to be annoyed as I smacked him once more on the head with my hand.
“If there aren’t any then we will either have to convince the royal family to invest in the town or we will have to take a loan from the bank, which neither is what I really want,” I sighed.
Having the royal family invest in the town would mean even more pressure to the people, it does have its own benefits though such as having the title as [the town blessed by the royal family] but that doesn’t really give me much pride since it would mean we depended on the royal family to succeed.
Loaning, on the other hand, will be difficult since we don’t have anything to give as collateral, I could make up some stuff that I know from the modern world but other than that, our credit score is exceptionally low and without a valuable collateral, we would have little chances of earning a loan.
Haaa… I wish I could go back to my world and head to bed, probably if I never followed Teil then maybe I wouldn’t be sucked into this entire issue. Well—it could be my fate that I would be sucked into this issue, but I doubt that. To think that I, a vampire would be a hero to the humans is pretty disgusting.
“Let’s head back to the town hall for now. I want to call a meeting with all the former workers of the town hall that are still here, and also with the knights since I will be using them as free labor—why else would His Majesty throw his trusted royal knights to me?” I showed a smirk as Leo sweated nervously.
“Do you want to use the knights to do paperwork, my lady?” he asked as I shook my head.
“It’s something worse than that! I will use them as farmers, those brats must be sulking over how little use their swords are over here! So how about I use their shabby swords as shovels,” I faked an evil laugh as Leo’s eyes widened with fear.
“My lady! That would be humiliating!” he refuted.
“Do you think I would care about humiliation?!” I said before adding, “Anyhow, we will discuss about that later, let’s head back to the town hall first.”
He looked at me with a hopeless gaze before the three of us soon started running back towards the town while the sun was still high up in the skies. After a short while, the two of us reached the town hall which was a dusty old wooden building with three floors.
It did carry the medieval theme that I always see in games with slanted roofs and a wooden statue of a Pegasus at the top of the roof which looked pretty cool. The town was pretty empty though, there were only around a few dozen heads that I could see who were homeless.
There were still houses that were functioning, but I don’t want to dive deep into those since who knows what kinds of horrors they contain inside. After reaching the town hall, we soon entered inside where we were greeted with a fairly luxurious living room.
It was made with wood with bright red sofas, rather than a town hall, it looked more like a house for a noble to stay at every now and then. There was little place to do document work, but there was a fully functional kitchen with complete tools, desks that I could maybe use to write on.
“How many rooms are in here?” I looked at Leo while sitting down as I lowered the little elf who kept clinging onto me down to my lap, patting her hair.
“There are around four bedrooms with four bathrooms, two offices and eight storage rooms, my lady…” he answered, “This town hall was previously used as a staying place for the first noble who made the town prosper back in the days, she was a workaholic who always wanted to work which led to the people turning the town hall into a place where she can rest whenever.”
“The people built the rooms for free?” my eyes widened as he nodded.
“According to a history book I read, the first noble who took care of this town loved the people so much that she ended up dying from overwork,” he showed a bitter smile, “Well—that noble was sort of my mother’s great-great-great-aunt…”
“I see…” I replied with an awkward smile. The atmosphere around the room was turning awkward but with a few coughs from me, I quickly changed the topic, “Okay! How about calling all those little annoying ants of yours to the town hall?”
“I will be sending off a few knights back to the capital to deliver a letter to the royal family and a few more knights to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity occurring in the town. As for the others, I will be using them as free labor for planting,” I smiled before sweat dripped from his forehead.
“My lady… you can’t be thinking of using our swords as shovels, aren’t you?” Leo asked as I glared at him.
“What use are your swords here, would you rather have them rust or would you rather make them a little bit useful?! Your swords would cry from joy after being used as a shovel, don’t complain brat!” I shouted before a hand suddenly pulled on my dress which surprised me as my eyes turned towards the little elf on my lap with curious eyes.
“Mama, what is a brat?”
A tsunami of regret and headaches soon flooded my mind as I soon realized what I had done… all that enduring to make my speech at least a little bit more formal went to the drain—I forgot she was here!
“Errr… it’s nothing. You shouldn’t use that word!” I panicked a bit before she tilted her head in confusion. That reminds me, what is her name—I’ve been calling her a little elf, but I never asked for her name, “Umm… do you know your name?”
“Mama, what is a name?” she looked at me confused, upon hearing her reply, my heart suddenly exploded in anger as I remembered that fat f#@#er who possibly kidnapped her and tortured her… my body suddenly feels like heading to hell and throwing that f#@#er to an even worse hell.
All of a sudden, a soft giggle came from Leo who was still standing in front of us. The giggle made me a bit annoyed as I materialized my scythe and smacked him on the soft end of my scythe, the one near the bottom while saying, “What are you waiting for?! GO TO WORK!”
“Yes, my lady!” he saluted immediately before running out from the town hall as I sighed, turning my attention back towards the little elf with a bitter smile. Her answer was basically telling me that she doesn’t know her name.
“Hmm… how should I explain this? A name is more like something your parents would give you that will be something that can be used to identify you,” I tried explaining before she tilted in confusion, “For example, my name is Aya which was given to me by my parents. That name is then used by others to call me, say for example, ‘Hey Aya!’”
“Mmm…” she looked a bit confused before her eyes sparkled as she asked, “Then can Mama give me a name?” with an enthusiastic look. Her eyes were basically anticipating for me to give her a name which made my eyes widen.
“Errr… I don’t know—I am not your parent,” I replied before her face turned gloomy as tears fell from her eyes, almost immediately, I retracted my words and replied, “Of course! I can give you a name, what kind of name do you want? A cute one or a strong one?”
“I want a name like Mama!” she replied.
Now that’s something I can’t understand—is my name even cute? I don’t even know whether my name is strong sounding or cute sounding since people tend to ignore me other than Teil who would always bother me every single minute.
I guess for a cute little girl like her, a cute name would fit well… but then again, I am bad at names. I could try adding two letters to my name since maybe she will like it…
“How about Ayaka? It sounds similar to my name, is it fine?” I looked at her before her eyes glowed super bright, sparkling as she hugged me tightly.
“Ayaka!” she happily replied, bringing a sense of warmth onto my dry heart which felt weird as my lip somehow curled by itself, hugging her back before two soft giggles came from the door where Felice, Leo, and Iona could be seen standing with smiles.
Embarrassment soon blasted through me as I glared at them, “You didn’t see or hear anything! You understand?!”
“We understand, Mama Aya!” Felice replied as my face heated up with a pout.