Elven Forest (8)
“So, this is the source?”
Wasn’t that too easy to find…? We spent more time on the road. In reality, we immediately reached the origin of the creek. I was curious if the stone in my hand was the so-called source that was influencing mana. There was nothing special about it. It was just a cobblestone you could find anywhere.
“Of course it isn’t.”
Mom took the stone from my hand then vigorously threw it into the lake. I dawdled for a moment then looked at the heap of stones in the water and fell into deep thought. Mom said the creek was the source of the problematic mana. The question, therefore, was which stone was the one?
“There are so many stones here. Are we supposed to check every single one of them?”
I picked up a stone while I was at it and held it out to Mom. Mom grabbed it without any hesitation and threw it into the water again. I watched the stones sink into the water and mulled over the question again. I felt as if I was a philosopher looking at the stone sink the water to search for my meaning in life…
“No, Son, these stones aren’t the source.”
My eyes shifted to the seaweed, which was more complex than the stones, and went into even deeper into thought.
Mom helplessly smiled. She affectionately rubbed my head: “It’s not the seaweed, either… Son, you’re not able to discern the mana you sense, which is why you can’t sense it. This place is indeed where the mana originates, but that doesn’t mean that the source of mana is here. Put it this way: if I was to pour red ink into here, do you think that it would instantly disperse everywhere? Even if I took the bottle of ink away, the red ink would need some time before it disperses everywhere. That’s basically the situation here. Somebody scattered mana here, but what they used to scatter it has been taken away. Therefore, the culprit isn’t a dimwit. They took the evidence with them. They came at a specific time to take it away, thereby avoiding anybody who came to investigate the scene.”
I made a small nod. We were stuck, then. We confirmed it wasn’t nature’s uncanny work, but somebody with a death wish. Further, the culprit was experienced, analytical and calm. They wouldn’t have been able to calmly take everything away without leaving any clues that could put them at risk, otherwise.
“We aren’t completely empty-handed. We, at least, now know that this was the work of an elf; thus, Mommy just needs to find the culprit now. Honestly, having these clues makes it easy. Once mana is activated, it’ll leave traces for a long time, and Mommy happens to be a genius on the subject. Mommy has already pinpointed it. We just need to head over. The location doesn’t seem to be too far away.”
Mom peered in the direction she noted. I dallied for a moment then drew my handgun and began to load it. Mommy Vyvyan watched me load bullet by bullet. She rested her face in her hand and said, “Son, you don’t need to be so vigilant, do you? The elf is magnificent in some ways; however, they don’t seem to have any abilities. If Mommy is correct, this mana should be immature man-made mana. If it was Mera, she would be able to hide it perfectly so that nobody could detect it. This culprit seems to be lacking, though. Moreover, though they were able to take the source, the clues left behind are far too visible. Even an ordinary animal would be able to track them down.”
“That’s why they don’t appear to be a challenge. It might just be somebody trying to prove themselves or wanting to conduct some dark elf experiments. Normally, such an individual wouldn’t have any combat abilities, which is why there’s no need to worry or prepare for combat.”
Mommy Vyvyan stood up and headed to the inner area of the forest. Mommy Vyvyan said that, but I still readied myself for combat, nevertheless. I set my handgun where I could immediately draw it to open fire without wasting a moment.
The exterior and interior of the forest was different. The trees were planted closely together. There were many places where two people couldn’t simultaneously squeeze through. It wasn’t a major problem for me, but Mom’s width from the side… mm… her breasts that were once for nourishing me and her source of pride, became an obstacle for her when she tried to squeeze through. I, in fact, had to use my hands to shift them sideways a little for her to squeeze through…
When we eventually squeezed through the forest, we suddenly came to a spacious flat area of grass. It was a random place to be. Anyway, in the centre was… a crucible… It was a huge crucible oozing with the vibe of crucible an evil alchemist would use… It was tough for sunlight to reach the centre of the forest. The area was the only area that sunlight could reach. The crucible was placed right in the sunlight…
Mom and I were dumbstruck when saw the crucible at the centre. Mom wore a displeased look. It was the same feeling as spending all your gold on buying recovery potions when you plan to challenge the boss, only to find out the boss was squishy fodder that you didn’t even need one potion for. Since Mom explained the mana was man-made, I supposed they made it with the crucible…
“That’s the source…” stated Mom.
I couldn’t convince myself to believe the conclusion I wanted, which was… was… was… the reason the creek water was the source wasn’t because of some plan or the work of some experienced culprit but merely because… the crucible was washed there… leaking the mana into the creek that eventually flowed around… The culprit didn’t seem to be a perfect tactician… I would go as far as to say that they were an imbecile… I let out a hopeless sigh.
Mom touched the ground with her hand: “It seems that the culprit produced mana here then poured it at various locations. There was no plan. It looks as though it was all on a whim. I’d classify it a prank. There’s no magic formation, either, so it doesn’t appear to be a trap, but rather… I think I can positively call it a prank…. However, this prank has gone a little too far.”
Mom heaved a heavy breath: “That appears to be what happened. By the looks of things, this was simpler than I imagined. If my conjecture is correct, we just need to wait for the culprit to appear. Geez, I thought it was something serious, but it appears there is nothing to fret about…”