Earth capital, Ishtar Blaze.
This city where the Earth Church is in, is far away from the Light capital, Apollon City; the Fire capital, Muspelheim; and the Water Capital, Hydra Ville. Because of that, it is a city that’s isolated from cultural exchange.
Moreover, at the west of it there’s the ‘Nameless Desert’, and if they want to go to other settlements, there’s the danger that they would enter this area, so it made the people not want to move about which strengthened the isolation even more.
It is an isolated nation by nature, and from an outside perspective, it is practically an unexplored region riddled with mysteries.
That is the Earth capital, Ishtar Blaze.
The city where the people that worship one of the five Gods of Creation, Mother Earth Mantle.
I am flying there alone with my flying machine.
“But, to think a Mother Monster would be right in the middle of a city where people live…” (Haine)
Ishtar Blaze is an enigmatic city, but it seems like the big tree at the center of the city is somewhat famous even in the outside settlements.
Even if they indeed don’t have much cultural exchange, there’s still travelers that come to the Earth capital at times when travelling around the world.
In the stories that they brag about, the first thing that comes out is the big tree that serves as the symbol of the city.
The people of the Light, Fire, and Water Churches as well, when I asked them about the Earth capital, Ishtar Blaze, most of it was: ‘ah, that city with the big tree huh. I don’t know anything aside from that’.
And in truth, when I brought the information I got from Nova about Grandma Wood to Yorishiro, even she said: ‘Eh, that was actually one?!’ and was surprised.
It is famous, but no one knows that this is one of the roots of those things called monsters. It seems like that’s the state it is in.
“And I am just a few ways away from the city where Grandma Wood is. Let’s push it till the destination.” (Haine)
I turn to the back and say this cheerfully.
—No one is there.
Right, this time, I am the only one in this journey.
Even in this distance where I can already see the trunk of Grandma Wood, there’s no one at my right or my left.
This is one of the big links that has to be severed in order to eradicate the monsters from this world, but in this journey, I wanted to wrap this out on my own, and because of it, I decided on going alone.
The light hero Karen-san, who I have always been with until now, for this time, I chose not to bring her with me. If I move with a hero, there’s a lot of things that have to be accommodated first so it saves me in that part, and it could become a big matter later.
And so, this time, I am alone.
No well, isn’t that good? My first journey alone. Let’s go freely and carefreely without any constraints.
“Well then, everyone, let’s go to the Earth capital, Ishtar Blaze~~!!” (Haine)
Raising my hands high-up, I shout to the back……
Ah right, there’s no one.
…I am not feeling lonely, okay?!
At the mountains that are quite a bit far before arriving at Ishtar Blaze, I got down the flying machine and hid it in the thicket.
The reason why I am doing this is because Yorishiro gave me an advice in the time I was departing.
‘Try your utmost to not bring any ethereal machines to Ishtar Blaze’, she said.
There was no detailed explanation.
Giving me small amounts of various pieces of information and saying hinting at things is truly just like her.
But Yorishiro is not the type to give advice thoughtlessly, so I should obediently follow what she said and leave the flying machine here.
It is in outline something that’s borrowed from the church, or more like, Yorishiro. If I break it, it is something that I definitely won’t be able to repay.
I camouflage it by placing grass on top of it and make a specific mark that only I would be able to tell it is one, and so, hiding complete.
Now then, let’s head to Ishtar Blaze by feet.
From what I saw when I was riding the flying machine, it would take around 1 day to reach there by feet.
Even so, if I was to go by feet from the very beginning, reaching her from Apollon City would have taken at the very least 1 month. I was able to arrive in only a few days, so the flying machine is still doing its job splendidly.
I could proceed in the ‘Nameless Desert’ without fearing it. Development really does make humans powerful.
Understanding how amazing the Ethereal era is once again, I continue onward, and at one point, the mountain road suddenly ended.
And then, there was an open field that extends as far as I could see…but it was a bit different.
This is not something that was made naturally. A green ground that was prepared with human hands; a plantation.
The sections are properly separated, and this agricultural land that had set crops growing from it were extending to the far horizon and from left and right to a point where I can’t even see the end from here.
What a big farming zone.
Until now, I have seen many cities like Apollon City, Muspelheim, and Hydra Ville.
As long as there’s many humans living there, there’s the need to supply their food in some way, and all settlements had their agricultural land in their surroundings.
But I have not seen an agricultural land as big as this one.
If this is all managed by Ishtar Blaze, this is not ordinary.
“The city that’s under the divine protection of Mother Earth huh…” (Haine)
These words leaked out from my mouth naturally.
Mother Earth Mantle, who governs the earth, is the one who created the ground itself where the humans stand on.
In that sense, it can be said that, for humans, she is the God that is the most familiar with them.
The water blessing, the fire blessing, and even the wind blessing has to pass through the earth at least once before reaching the humans.
The earth is the mother of all living beings. That’s why only Mantle is not simply called Earth God, but called with affection as Mother Earth.
The Earth Church that worships Mantle possessing such big farming land can be understandable.
On the plantations, I could see people that looked like peasants here and there, and I could feel liveliness that I wouldn’t be able to see in just any agricultural land.
Peaceful and melodious; while thinking something like that, I walked on the road and then…for some reason, I felt a gaze.
Someone is watching me.
Thinking this, I looked around, and there, my eyes found another strange thing.
The shadow of someone. A silhouette in the shape of a human.
At first, I was so surprised by the ever-extending agricultural land that I didn’t notice it, but it is quite big. A height that would require two adult men in order to match its size.
That’s obviously not a human.
A doll made of earth.
A giant earth doll was moving alone in the plantation.
“Could it be…a monster?!” (Haine)
The special trait of this pseudo-lifeforms called monsters is that they release divine power aura, but you can’t feel the beat of a soul.
Sensing that irregularity, I noticed immediately that it was a monster, and after noticing one other thing, my alertness raised to its upper limit.
Close to the feet of that earth-humanoid monster was…a human!
An elderly *oba-san*. <granny>
Her legs have already gotten weak and she can’t run at her full-speed. There’s no way she can escape from that earth-humanoid.
And then, the earth-humanoid took a step.
At the direction of the Oba-san, as if saying ‘I will crush you’.
“Watch out!!” (Haine)
I immediately ran there.
- 93: Golem
I run towards the place.
Towards the place where the old woman was about to be crushed under the step of the giant earth-humanoid.
I don’t know the details, but there’s no doubt that’s a monster.
I somehow made it in time and stand in between the Oba-san and the earth-humanoid.
I heard the voice of the Oba-san from behind.
There’s no time to hesitate. If I take my time, not only the Oba-san, the surroundings will also suffer. I release dark matter and destroy the earth-humanoid without leaving any remains—-is what I thought, but I felt a *gong* shock from my back.
I was hit by something from my back. Moreover, because it accurately hit my spine, it made a dangerously creaking sound and I fall in pain.
“Dunno who ya are, but don’t go jumpin’ out suddenly.”
The one hitting me was the Oba-san.
She gave me one hit with the cane she is holding, moreover, it seems that cane was stronger than I expected, the pain coursing through me was not letting me move at all.
As this happened, the earth-humanoid was approaching.
The steps that were going *doshin* *doshin* were sinking around half of its feet into the earth every time.
This is bad. ‘At this rate, the Oba-san and I will be crushed beneath this guy’s feet!’, just when I thought of this…the earth-humanoid passes by the Oba-san and I, and heads towards an unknown destination.
“…Eh? Wut?” (Haine)
When the earth-humanoid moves forward for a while, it turns around, and returns here.
I thought we would be crushed this time for sure, but as expected, the earth-humanoid passes by us, and after moving for a while, it turns back…and continues that process.
“Ya see, this plantation here…I had it take a rest last year. And so, I thought about planting somethin’ again this year, so before that, I be thinking ther’ be the need to mix the earth fer a bit ya see.”
The Oba-san says this with a mixed accent. <TL: Please treat me gently on the accent >-<. If there’s any sort of tips you can give me on that, I would appreciate it a lot.>
“Leaving it to that child is really comfortin’. My legs already roughed up ya see, just walkin’ with these legs won’t be mixing no earth. Ya can’t just suddenly stand on its way.”
Eh? For some reason, it has turned into me being scolded?
“B-But that’s a monster…” (Haine)
Because the pain in my back is still not going away, my speech is still not going back to normal.
She looks like that, but her strength is impressive. Is this the hidden power of a farmer?
“…Could it be yer…an outsider?”
“Talking about people that came from the outside. The first thin’ people who don’t know this place get surprised by is that after all. That child ya see, it’s called a Golem. The blessin’ of Mother Earth-sama.”
Saying this, the Oba-san points at the giant earth-humanoid that is still continuing the plowing.
“That’s right. See fer yerself. There’s some over there and there too.”
In the places where the Oba-san points at, there’s certainly big human-shaped shadows plowing the land, digging canals, helping out in the harvesting; they were working in the fields restlessly.
These so called Golems have a silhouette that’s practically identical to that of humans aside from the size, so in this flat agricultural land with such perspective in it, I ended up not noticing it.
But…eh? Golem? But, they are monsters, right?
The monsters are helping out in the farm?
“Oh my, yer quite the brave lad.”
Some time has passed since then, the pain in my back finally receded, and the Oba-san was treating me with tea.
While I was gazing at the Golem at the plantation.
“So ya misunderstood thinkin’ that I was being attacked by a Golem and went to save me eh. Looks like I did somethin’ bad to ya then. Thanks.”
“No, in the end, it was my misunderstanding, so I should be the one apologizing. Not only did I cause you trouble, I was even about to get in the way of your work.” (Haine)
“It’s fine, it’s fine~. Even a granny like me gets happy when a youn’ un tries to save her-sa ne. Here, eat some pickles too.”
“T-Thanks for the meal.” (Haine)
I was eating and drinking what was being brought to me.
A blue sky and a green plain that extends further than the eye can see. The sounds that enter my ears are the steps of the Golem that’s working on its own.
What a peaceful space.
I felt a gaze and look around. In the skies, there’s the shadow of a bird of prey that might be an eagle or a hawk. It is probably aiming at the mice that might be running around the plantation.
“But well, most outsiders get surprised by it-sa ne. Humans and monsters bein’ friendly.”
“Those Golems, do they really not attack people?” (Haine)
“That’s right. That child is just as good natured as ya-sa ne.”
Maybe it has finished the plowing; the Golem that was moving back and forth only, for the first time stops its trajectory and heads to where we are.
“Thanks fer ya hard work.”
When it arrives right in front of us, the Golem stops on its own, and the Oba-san seems to have begun touching the body of the Golem.
The surface of the Golem suddenly had cracks appearing from it, moreover, this covered its whole body and, finally, it crumbles and becomes rubble.
“W-What was that?! What happened?!” (Haine)
“Calm down, youn’ un. The work is over, so I had it take a rest-sa ne.”
Saying this, there was one piece of brick in the hand of the Oba-san.
She didn’t have something like that before though.
“This be the identity of the Golem-sa ne.”
“Eh? This brick is?” (Haine)
I later learned that this brick is called a Life Block, also called as Golem Core.
- 94: Utopia
“Ya see, ya have to write what ya want it to do in this Life Block.”
The Oba-san was writing something on the brick with a bamboo shoot or something like that. Maybe the surface is pretty soft.
“And then, ya throw it ta the earth.”
After doing that, earth begins to gather on the brick, swells big, and then, it steadily shapes up and becomes the silhouette of a human.
The Golem appears once again.
“Now that it taken form, it be movin’ as ordered. Now, get on.”
“Eh? We are riding it?” (Haine)
The Oba-san has already climbed on top of the arm of the Golem and has reached to its shoulder.
For an elder person, she is quite the dextrous one.
“I wrote a request ta give us a ride till my house. Ya’ll be headin’ to the city as well, right? If ya walk normally, ya’ll be taking all day.”
It is true. I was planning on reaching Istar Blaze by today, but because I was talking with the Oba-san, quite a lot of time ended up passing.
At this rate, the sun would sink quite a few ways before I reach the city and will be completely dark.
I decided on taking up the offer.
For an outsider, the movements of the Golem look sluggish, but because of its big frame, its steps are also wide, and allowed it to reach the objective at a far higher speed than that of the feet of a human.
Earth capital, Ishtar Blaze.
The big tree that was overwhelming even when seeing it from a real long distance, was even more overwhelming when seeing it up close.
So this is Grandma Wood.
“Even when I look up, I can’t see its top.” (Haine)
Moreover, the thickness of the trunk would probably be spacious enough to place the Light Grand Church of Apollon City on it.
And if we were to take into account the roots that spread from it, it would probably take up about 1/10 of the whole Ishtar Blaze.
But aside from that, there’s nothing strange about the tree itself. At least at a glance, that is.
This is one of the sources for the calamity called monsters; one of the four Mother Monsters. This is hard to believe.
“How’s it? Tree-sama is incredible, don’t ya think?”
The Oba-san once again returns the Golem into rubble, and places the block that remains into her bosom.
“This be the pride of us, ya know. No matter where ya search in the whole world, there be no tree as big as ‘Great Pillar-sama’.”
“Great Pillar-sama?” (Haine)
“Everyone in the city calls it that way. A great tree-sama that brings forth blessings ta humans.”
I once again felt a gaze, so I look around. There’s a lot more Golems walking around the city of Ishtar Blaze compared to the time in the agricultural land. They are carrying luggage, carrying people, repairing houses; they are doing all this gallantly.
In other words, this place really is a place where…
“…Humans and monsters are coexisting?” (Haine)
“All of this be thanks ta Great Pillar-sama.”
Oba-san says this with slight pride.
“Traveller, can ya see it from here? There be people clinging onto Great Pillar-sama, right?”
When I strain my eyes to see where Oba-san is pointing at, I certainly did see it. At the surface of the thick and big tree, there’s some sort of human-looking things clinging onto it.
Rock climbing? No, it is a tree so…wood climbing?
At any rate, there’s people that are at an altitude that makes you question just how did they climb so far up…and just what in the hell are they doing?
“They be gettin’ this.”
The Oba-san says as she points at the brick.
“Eh? Then…!” (Haine)
“This Life Block comes from Great Pillar-sama. It protrudes from the surface of the tree ya see, and, at the end, it falls. But it be dangerous if it were left there till it falls and hits the head of someone, right? That’s why people of the church retrieve ones that are about ta fall.”
And with the testimony of the Oba-san, I was convinced of one thing; the Golems are without doubt earth monsters. The Life Blocks that serve as the core of this Golems, and the big tree that creates these Life Blocks.
That big tree is a ‘monster that gives birth to monsters’; it means that there’s no doubt it is a Mother Monster.
“…Hm? Please wait.” (Haine)
A part of it bothered me and I ask.
I point at the people that are still doing work at the surface of the tree.
“You said that the people picking the Life Blocks there are members of the Earth Church, right? Then does that mean that tree is under the management of the Earth Church?” (Haine)
“Yeah, that be right.”
At that moment, I once again felt a gaze.
Since the time I got closer to Ishtar Blaze, I have been feeling the gaze of an unknown someone.
“If ya want ta, I can bring ya ta the Grand Crimson Palace.”
Grand Crimson Palace? Is she referring to the Earth Church’s headquarters?
“It is rare for a traveller ta come all the way here after all. The people of the Church also want ta hear the stories of the outside, so they be telling us that whenever we meet with an outsider, we bring them ta their place. It seems like they be providing lodgin’ and food, so it is not a bad deal for ya either, ya know.”
In order to learn what’s happening in this city, it is crucial that I get in contact with the Earth Church.
“Well then, I will take you up on that offer. Sorry to have you take so much care of me.” (Haine)
“It’s fine. I have a grandchild, ya see. Right now they be living far away, but when I treat a stranger with kindness, I feel like that person will also treat my grandchild with kindness as well.”
…Ah, please stop that.
It reminds me of my mother and father in my village, and it brings me to tears.