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Chapter: 482

Expansion of Tree

Chapter 482: Expansion of Tree

Before his steps lead him to the Tree Chamber, as he jokingly called the giant cavern where Karina’s Hangingtree was growing, his stomach led him to the kitchen.

"Hey, Seth. Did you come for a snack?" Link greeted him. The gourmet hunter was always in the kitchen, no matter at what time Seth came by.

"You are always here and cooking. Do you even sleep?" Seth asked with a chuckle.

"Nope." Link answered jovially.

"What?" the blacksmith asked baffled.

"I acquired a skill that makes it unnecessary for me to sleep. I can cook all day now!"

This man had really found his passion. Even when Seth like forging, he wouldn’t want to sacrifice his precious sleep for it, except when working on a project. But he had to admit, the food had improved by a lot.

After challenging Link in a battle, chef versus guest, the blacksmith got back on his way to meet Karina. On his came he had to cross the herb garden.

"Seth! Did you come to visit Karina?" Otto, the Pharmacist greeted him

"Hello, Otto. Yeah, She asked me to come by if I have time."

"Then I don’t want to stop you," he said with a smile and continued tending to the herbs.

The blacksmith passed by the pharmacist with a nod and kept going until he reached the great gate at the end of the herb garden, where the cavern with the Hangingtree was located. He pushed against the door, but it wouldn’t budge.

He was about to push against it when he heard Karina from inside.

"Please wait a moment!" she said hurriedly.

It was followed by the sound of something limp dragging over the ground and Karina’s labored breath before the gate finally swung open a minute later. The sight of an exhausted dryad propping herself against the door, greeted him.

"S-Seth! You came!" she quickly straightened her disheveled clothes.

"Yeah, didn’t you ask me to come by because you had something to talk about?" he asked slightly confused.

He tried to look in the room to see what was going on, but he couldn’t see much through the opening behind the dryad.

"Ah, I did! But I didn’t expect you to come so quickly. I was in the middle of trying to tidy things up." she answered a little embarrassed.

"Karina, what is going on?"

Seth had not known the dryad for long, but she did not seem like a messy person. Her talking of tidying things up made him worried. Was the dryad not feeling well?

"… I guess, it would be best if you saw for yourself," she said with an awkward smile and stepped aside.

Seth grimaced. Lately, there were a lot of things "he would better see for himself" instead of people actually complaining about what was going on. Well, when they said he had to see for himself, he would do so. With a quick step, Seth entered the Hangingtree’s cavern and quickly came to a halt after almost stumbling over a root as thick as his wrist.

Looking up, the tree’s crown was cloaked in darkness, he could not see the magic lights he had installed in the beginning. His only light source was lanterns distributed around the cavern, like street lamps.

The room, floors, and walls, they illuminated were covered in layers upon layers of roots with varying thicknesses. Some were as big or bigger than a thigh, others just the width of a finger. What little Seth could see of the wall, gave him the expression, that probably the whole surface of the cavern was covered like this. Even the ceiling.

He wasn’t angry. He was only perplexed and unsure how he was supposed to react. He could only look at Karina in the hope of a cohesive explanation of what he saw. She was the dryad of the tree, after all.

The dryad kept evading his gazing until the awkward silence became too heavy for her to bear. She finally broke and started explaining.

She was at her wit’s end herself. Her hand tried to stop the hangingtree’s growth but was only able to slow it down. The Cavern was simply too small, for its growth. Especially after bringing the tree into this kind of environment.

Delta was surrounded by the central mountain range that was filled to the brim with magic. Unlike Alpha, where Seth and the tree originated from, here the tree could happily absorb huge amounts of magic and keep growing indefinitely.

No matter what Karina tried, the cavern Seth had prepared was simply too small. But even if he made it bigger, it would not solve the tree’s natural urge to grow.

Since she didn’t know what else to do, she had tried to limit the tree to the inside of the cave, turning it into a huge root egg. Had she not intervened, the tree would have likely already tunneled its way into Minas Mar or to the outside.

As she didn’t really know the other members of Minas Mar, she was unsure how they would react. She kept it a secret, even from Pip and the other children, and waited for his return instead of asking the others for advice.

Despite showing great wisdom and love for her children, Seth realized that the dryad lacked experience and especially trust when it came to strangers. Being able to pick up on the darkness of people had made her very careful.

Trust Issues, this was something he couldn’t claim to be much better with. He also wouldn’t claim to be a very virtuous person. The reason Karina trusted him was most likely her gratitude for meeting her children again.

The way she looked at him showed her insecurity. As if she was unsure whether she did something wrong and how he would react. As if she expected him to scold her. He gently put his hand on her shoulder, to show that everything was alright.

"Everything is okay. You did nothing wrong, though I hope you can put some more trust into the other members of Minas Mar." he tried to speak reassuringly.

But he really meant it. Was this giant chaos of roots a huge mess? Yes, but nothing he would get angry about. Although the others like Monique, Evee, or Mary would have been able to help sooner, there were no damages, yet.

On the contrary, Seth could see that the quality of the hangingtree’s wood had improved, probably from the magic, it kept accumulating.

Seeing her nod with a relieved expression, gave Seth some peace of mind.

"Good. Let’s see if we can think of a way to deal with this," he said motivated.

The problem was that the tree wanted to grow and lacked the space to do so. It was clear they had to give it a way out.

What would have happened if the tree found its outside? He imagined a giant hangingtree sticking out from the mountainside below Delta, while the rest of the mountains stayed a cold, rocky, snow-covered wasteland.

How conspicuous would that be?

"You said you restricted it to the cavern and the roots would have burrowed their way to the outside otherwise. That means you can roughly control it, right?" he made sure.

Despite looking unsure where he was going with this, the dryad nodded affirmatively.

Imagining the picture of a lush green tree in the icy mountains, gave Seth an idea. A good use for the tree’s overflowing vitality so to say. The possible solution quickly came to him, because he had talked about the topic with Mary just yesterday.

This way could also give Karina a chance to improve her trust in the people of Minas Mar. Most people had flaws, she just had to learn that flaws did not always mean the person was bad.

"I believe I have a solution for our little problem, but you will have to work with Mary and others on this. You might even have to leave Minas Mar for extended periods of time. Are you ready for that?" he asked to see her resolve.

This was also a chance for Karina to grow and really integrate into their family. The dryad pondered for a while.

"…Yes!" she finally answered with a look of determination on her face.

Seeing her resolve, Seth felt assured and shared his idea for the Hangingtree’s future role in Minas Mar’s business venture. A chance for it to thrive. To be something more than just a source of wood material.

But still also a source for wood materials. He would not give up on in-house grown materials.

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