Chapter 46: Side Story: Jack and the mysterious Bean Tree (2)
「Jack, what happened? You have never asked me so urgently to grow a monster plant.」
Brother Kyou asked me that question after hearing my sudden request.
「I know you have many questions. It’s comprehensible. But, it’s a long story. So please, bro, can you lend me your help?」
I started talking to my brother about everything that happened. My brother scratched his head as if he understood this unavoidable situation. He really listened carefully to my earnest request and agreed to it.
「I don’t know exactly why everyone says I’m special in the way I cultivate my monsters. I just plow the ground and plant the seeds. Then, I use fertilizer or compost on the soil, and then, I pour just water in that area.」
「I see. Does that mean that you should plow the ground first? 」
「Well, I did that in the beginning, yes. But, it would be better to pick up the soil and mix it with the compost inside first and foremost.」
「Is it difficult to get that compost now? 」
「No. Compost is not a rare thing. There are plenty of alternatives without us having to buy it. For example, garbage or dead leaves. Especially the raw garbage. Instead of discarding my garbage, I use it to insert it on the soil since it has many nutrients even after decomposition. It’s a double-valued action because it works as a fertilizer and as a garbage disposal.」
「It makes sense. 」
Thanks to my brother’s easy-to-understand cultivation course, I understood the basics for the time being. I immediately grabbed the hoe with my mouth and plowed the soil desperately. This was a very difficult task. It was hard to control my strength, and when I relaxed for a moment, the hoe almost slip from my mouth. Then, I desperately plowed the soil. Suddenly, Dora-chan sat on the ground and stared at me.
「Jack, what are you doing? 」
「As you can see, I’m plowing the soil. 」
「Are you helping Master with it? 」
「No, I want to do something useful for a young lady. 」
Dora-chan showed a question mark on her head upon hearing my response. Perhaps, she was too young to understand it? Maybe. This was an adult world where little children couldn’t understand the harsh ways of life. Anyway, I plowed the soil continuously. Then, I mixed the garbage that had accumulated on the back of the house with the soil I plowed. Finally, I rolled the soil to level the ground, and grabbed a bucket in my mouth to water it. Hmm, somehow, it didn’t feel hard this time unlike the first time I did it. My brother, who stood behind me, was impressed with “Oh!”.
「You’re doing great, Jack. If you do this alone, it will be a hard daylong job. But, you’ll be rewarded in the end of your hard-work.」
With that in mind, my brother grabbed the soil with his hands to check its state. Then, he dropped the soil to see how I fared in soil plowing.
「Remember this. The most important thing in cultivation is soil making. I have made various monsters since I came here, but the soil in the ground is the most important thing to grow any kind of monsters. You could say that it’s the essential part and basis of agriculture. Anything will grow on your soil if it’s good enough. So, wait for about a week. If the soil gets muddy, then plant the seeds.」
I thanked my brother for his instructions.
After that, I noticed that the soil was ready. Therefore, planted the seeds from Miss Esth and watered them frequently. However, the buds didn’t come out so easily. Every day, I sat in front of the soil and watched it closely. My brother gently put his hand on my head and said, “Don’t be impatient”.
The next day, as usual, I went to the area where I planted the seeds. I noticed that a small and unfamiliar bud grew from the soil. No doubt. The seeds from Miss Esth planted by me were finally sprouting. I was so happy that I circled around in the garden that day.
After that, the buds grew steadily. And before long, they became almost 2 meters tall. The seeds showed what kind of tree they originally belonged. It was a monster from the bean species. At the end of the branches, a special pod containing three-joined beans looked like Edamame beans*. Small limbs grew along with it. I wondered if the characteristic of this monster plant was the same as monsters with personalities. In short, these could be a similar race as Jack O’ Lantern. However, their danger rank looked much lower than my species and harvesting them looked quite easy. Maybe, it could be possible to move it to Miss Esth’s area so that she could have her daily food.
That was my focus. However. The next day, the monster began to wither somehow. I was so upset by the sudden change that I went around in the garden and circled around in frustration. Likewise, the fruity Edamame that grew on the branches seemed to be exhausted and loose. I desperately did everything I could in order to save it. My efforts included water, compost, and fertilizer, but none of that had positive effects. In the end, I offered myself as a sacrifice and said, “I will become a fertilizer myself!”. Yet, brother and Dora-chan stopped me from going further than this.
Then, after a while, the bean tree that I’ve received from Miss Esth had died completely.
「Ma…Master. Jack looks dead. What should we say to him… 」
「We…Well, honestly, I don’t even know what to say… 」
Currently, I was lying upside down as if I were dead in the corner of my brother’s tattered hut. No, actually, it would be better to be dead. After all, the beans that I’ve got from Miss Esth did not bud successfully. At first, the tree had beautiful Edamame green beans. But, they didn’t last. Soon, the color, which should’ve been a healthy green color, became yellow like dead leaves. I saw that that Edamame pod had three beans inside. But, they were hard, and thus, not suitable for eating. How should I apologize to her? I ruined not only her last resort for food but also the only memory of her parents. I gotta put myself on the table in other to atone for my sins.
At that moment, someone opened the door just when I used my last strength to bring myself to the dining table.
「Kyou, sorry to bother. But, can I have a moment with you? Actually, Mina wants to speak with you because she has a request for you…Huh, what’s going on with this dark atmosphere?」
「Ah, Lily. Thank goodness, you came here. Could you encourage Jack? 」
「Ah? What are you talking about so suddenly? And why it has to be me?…Don’t push me! Fix your own problems!」
Lily approached me after they pushed her back. I was glad to see that my brother cared for me. Still, my heart decided what to do. I shall became a pumpkin stew. The moment I thought that this could be my end; Miss Lily saw the dead green beans I was holding with my mouth and spoke with a surprising voice.
「What!? Where did you get that!? 」
「Hmm, Lily. Do you know what that is? 」
「Don’t you know that those beans are the rare Gold Beans!? Those are extremely valuable!! I heard that the Gold Beans belong to the S-rank!!」
…Golden beans, she said?
「Yes, come in. 」
After I heard her voice, I quietly opened the door.
「Hi. It’s been a long time, Miss Esth. 」
「That voice…It’s you Jack! Long time no see. How did my seeds fare since then?」
When she asked me that question, I rolled closely to her desk and placed three beans on top. That was all I could get from the seeds she gave me. Miss Esth smiled when she touched them with her hands as if she was impressed.
「I see, so these are the result. Actually, harvesting these three was enough. Originally, those seeds were worthless. So, these three beans alone shall be enough for one meal.」
「No. Those beans are not meant to eat, Miss Esth. 」
Miss Esth looked surprised upon hearing my remarks. She touched the beans once again with her hands. She felt something unusual from these beans. They were so cold and hard as if they were metal. That’s right, those were…
「No way. Don’t tell me that they are made from…gold? 」
Yes, that was the origin of her seeds. Those golden beans were called the Gold Beans. However, their cultivation was much more difficult than Mandragora cultivation, and where they lived was completely mysterious. Above all, they were known to produce only “one Edamame branch”. If one let it grow, the tree would wither and fall at once. If one didn’t harvest the beans that grew during that short time, the gold inside the branch would wither as well. Her parents tried desperately to obtain those seeds before dying, so that they could cure her illness.
「Miss Esth. Sell it and treat your eyes with that money. There should be enough for it.」
Despite her surprise, I turned my back and went out of the door, just as before. She shouted aloud with a voice full of different emotions, from excitement, joy, and gratitude towards me.
「Wait! Thank you very much! I will never forget what you did for me…! Please, show me your face when my eyes are healed in the future!!」
She spoke with tears on her eyes. I responded to her then.
「It’s better if I don’t show up here anymore. 」
I quietly closed the door after leaving her befuddled. In the end, she never knew who I was. However, I thought that it was fine. A monster killed her parents after all. So, it wasn’t necessary for her to know that her lifesaver was also a monster.
This was the story about how a nosy pumpkin ended up helping a lone girl. When I left…
「One day, when my eyes are healed, I will definitely come to thank you! Jack!」
Her voice left a warmth feeling on my pumpkin heart.
*Edamame beans are immature green soybeans usually in the pod. While edamame beans are typically eaten as a fresh steamed vegetable, soybeans are left to mature and harden.