Chapter 45: Side Story: Jack and the mysterious Bean Tree (1)
Hey, everyone. How are you? My name is Jack. Jack O’ Lantern is a species of the monster plants. My brother named Kyou cultivated me. I was the first monster born with a personality.
Brother Kyou is amazing, you know. In addition to me, he cultivated various monsters and was recognized by many people. Moreover, he played an active part in the world’s largest cooking competition, and eventually, he became a hero recognized by the goddess. But this time, I’m going to tell you my personal story. A story that has little to do with the main story. This story’s timeline is before my brother met with the goddess, and before he entered the Grand Cooking Tournament. Well, to be honest, you could say that it’s the side story of my supporting role.
Yet, in order to embellish the story, isn’t it important to talk about a supporting character that helped the main character in a significant way? Actually, you might end up forgetting about this story of mine. Still, I will tell you this story with much expectations and anxiety. Everything happened a few months ago.
On that day, I was walking around as usual, floating in the air as I reached the depths of the forest. That was when I found her. She fell to the ground after stepping into a root of a tree. I noticed that she held a basket with small Mash Mushrooms. But, what caught my eyes was the wolves that surrounded her, a herd of Killer Wolves. It looked like she was going to be attacked. In this situation I reflected on what my brother would do, I bet he would say something like this “I’d rather help than not help at all”. Therefore, I reinvigorated my mind with his strong optimistic spirit.
I instantly invoked magical powers that created a ghostly flame. My powers fired at the herd of wolves that surrounded that girl. Let’s call this skill the Ghost Flare. Anyway, the countless attacks of Ghost Flare hit the wolves. The wolves noticed my presence and tried to immediately counterattack. However, my burning flames continued to attack them relentlessly. I did my best to defeat them with my pumpkin powers.
Eventually, the wolves escaped to the depths of the forest one after another, after they noticed my strength. Phew, after all it was F-rank monsters. After confirming that the wolves were gone, I spoke to the fallen girl.
「Are you okay, Miss? 」
「Tha…Thank you very much…I don’t know what really happened, but you helped me.」
I felt a sense of strangeness when this girl stood up after thanking me. After standing up, she turned towards me and I saw the reason why I felt something odd about her.
The girl had her eyes closed. Still, she wasn’t closing her eyes because she was too frightened. Perhaps, she was blind. However, I wasn’t sure. My suspicions were true the next moment she spoke to me.
「I truly apologize for this appearance. I can’t see the face of the benefactor who helped me. I’m really sorry.」
「Ah no, don’t worry about it. I don’t even have a proper face that you could see. You’d rather be disappointed if you saw how I looked.」
「No, not at all. I don’t judge people by their appearances.」
Even though she was smiling, I saw that she was out of her comfort zone.
「The noise will attract other monsters here. This area is no longer safe, at least for now. Miss. I could escort you to your home if you’d like.」
「Eh, but that would be troublesome for you… 」
「I don’t mind. I don’t have anything else to do. This is the least I can do.」
At first, this girl refused my request and kept apologizing. Still, after my persistence, she finally nodded with a smile and said, “Okay”.
This girl…On the way to her home, she told me her name. She was called Esth. I came to the house where Esth lived, but it was near the entrance of the forest, a bit far from the town. The house was not a ragged and tattered house where brother Kyou lived. Her habitation was a small wooden house made amongst the trees.
「Please, feel free to come inside of my home. This place may be not very welcoming for you, but let me give you my appreciation.」
「Please, don’t worry too much about it. 」
I wasn’t really expecting any kind of “thank you”. So, I thought I’d return immediately, but when I got inside, one question came up. I could tell from the outside about the size, but there was only one room in the house. Moreover, there was only one desk and one bed. There was no other person living here except this girl.
「Miss Esth. I pardon to ask you this, but there is no other family member living here other than you Miss?」
After a brief silence, Esth answer to my question. She continued to speak, but her voice tone showed some sadness and hatred.
「Monsters killed my parents. 」
I listened silently to her muttering.
「As you can see, I’m blind. We were always poor. My parents couldn’t afford to buy medicine for my eyes. So, my father and my mother went to the Adventurers’ Guild and registered themselves as adventurers. They went on monster hunting in order to earn money to get a proper medicine for me. However, a monster killed my mother during a quest. My father was severely injured, but managed to come home with his remaining strength so that he could give me these objects.」
She took small seeds out of her desk. Those seeds were probably bean seeds.
「Aren’t those monster seeds? 」
「Yes. I can’t afford a purchasable price for these seeds. So, it’s hard to sell them in the town.
I could raise these monster seeds. But in order to do so, it requires a special environment and a specific ability. That’s why it’s impossible for me to grow them. If I could grow these seeds, I wouldn’t have to go to the depths of the forest to pick up ingredients for my survival.」
Then, she held on tight to those seeds. I see. That made sense. If she could grow those seeds into edible monsters, she wouldn’t have the need to put herself into danger in order to get some food. After a short pause, I suggested the following.
「Listen. I can help you with those seeds. So, why don’t you leave them to me?」
Miss Esth turned around, as she looked surprised by my words.
「I have a brother who can grow monster plants. I’d like to ask him to try and see what grows from those seeds. Of course, Miss Esth. We will deliver the ingredients produced from those seeds if he succeeds in growing them.」
Miss Esth squeezed the seeds in her hands while she thought of something to put into words. Of course, she was uncertain. How could she give those precious seeds to a person who she just met today? I began to reflect on whether I said something unnecessary.
「I understand. I’m going to give these seeds to Jack. 」
She offered me the seeds she held in her hands.
「Are you sure? You trusted me so easily even though you don’t know who I really am in reality. I might get away with these seeds and never return.」
「I don’t mind it, you know. Either I give them to you or not, it’s a fact that I can’t do anything with them. At least, all I can do now is give them to you as a gift for being my lifesaver.」
I received the seeds from Miss Esth’s hands, who smiled sincerely at me. After I saw her kind smile even though she had a harsh life as a blind person, I made a promise with her.
「Rest assured, Miss Esth. I’ll make sure these seeds grow properly.」
After I made my promise, I placed those seeds in my mouth and left through the door.
This is when Jack was still a round pumpkin.