Chapter 123: Hero Ruti vs Cold Mold
The day after we returned to Zoltan from Mistome-shi’s settlement.
Ruti came calling for me in a rush saying that it was an emergency situation.
I immediately changed clothes and sprinted off with Ruti.
Tise waved at me from beside the greenhouse. But I could tell from Tise’s eye that it was not a pleasant situation.
Ruti and I quickly headed toward the greenhouse.
“Onii-chan, what should I do …”
Ruti grabbed my sleeves anxiously. She was no longer a young girl forced to possess flawless spirit due to 『Hero』.
The Ruti standing here now was a young girl experiencing heartache from seeing the sight in front of her.
I observed the small gray starfish grass sprout lying weakly on its side.
We were inside Ruti’s herb farm, at a corner of the greenhouse where they were growing gray starfish grass.
The shoot of gray starfish grass was weak. Normally, its roots should extend firmly into the ground and the shoot must grow straight upward.
But now it was wilting.
“It’s because of mold.”
I scooped up the soil and showed it to Ruti.
By looking closely, it was possible to tell that a few centimeters of soil from the surface had turned yellow.
“The color changed.”
Ruti and Tise stared intently at the scooped up soil.
“It’s called Cold Mold. It is a mold that absorbs surrounding heat as nutrition.”
“I’ve seen those before in caves and ruins but they were a lot bigger.”
“Only colonies that have grown very large would pose a problem to adventurers.”
Cold Mold is a kind of mold found on the continent.
It is a unique mold that has the property of breeding by absorbing the surrounding heat and when the colonies exceed one meter in diameter, their territory will span roughly 10 meters wide and if any heat sources stumble into it … most living things will have their heat taken away from them rapidly.
If the target is a human with low divine protection level, it terrifyingly has enough power to cause them to faint in about 30 seconds.
As it would cause a sensation of intense cold, most of the time people would leave the area immediately and the only issue would be to warm their bodies, but in situations with weakened physical strength due to a loss of blood, it may cause the injury to turn into a fatal injury.
“In places where people live, it rarely grows to such colony sizes but a small number will be able to breed in warm soil like this.”
The Cold Mold caused the soil temperature to drop and resulted in the condition Ruti’s gray starfish grass was in.
“Why would Cold Mold …”
“It was probably carried in with the soil. In normal circumstances, during winter their numbers would decrease to a level where it won’t cause any issue but when the greenhouse was built it probably started propagating.”
Or should I say they were unlucky?
However, when changing the use of a farm, a few unforeseen circumstances would be unavoidable.
Many more problems will probably occur in the first year.
” …… ”
Ruti sadly hung her head low.
“Now then, since Ruti realized it quickly, countermeasures are still possible.”
“Countermeasures? It can be saved?”
“Yeah, it was close though.”
Cold Molds are parasites but there didn’t seem to be a large amount growing. Compared to the type of molds that cause problems by directly infecting the plant, the crops will return to normal once the Cold Mold was exterminated and the soil temperature raised.
Thanks to Ruti’s quick action of immediately reporting to me after she found it at this stage in the morning, I should be able to make it in time if I deal with it right now.
“We have to hurry, let’s prepare the medicine to eliminate the Cold Mold.”
We left the farm in Tise’s care while Ruti and I quickly went to purchase the materials we needed.
After scattering the medicine that we dissolved a few folds in water, we examined the condition of the soil.
We were progressing steadily. Cold Molds were molds with a weak life force in the first place so we should be able to eliminate them by tomorrow morning.
“Tomorrow, after confirming that there is no longer any Cold Mold in the soil, cover the soil with a rough cloth to raise its temperature.”
Ruti responded and grasped both her fist in front of her chest. There was a strong determination on her face. Ruti probably wanted to save that little herb sprout.
Ironically, that was an emotion which Ruti lacked when she was the 『Hero』.
“You did well noticing.”
I stretched my hand to pat Ruti’s head but,
I stopped midway.
I’ve been doing farm work since just now so my hands were dirty with soil. I couldn’t possibly touch Ruti’s beautiful blue hair with that hand.
Ruti looked displeased as she watched my hand stop.
Then, she placed both her hands on mine and pulled my palm onto her head.
“I’m entering the bath after this so it’s okay.”
She said as she nuzzled her head against my palm as if to verify the sensation.
I inadvertently laughed.
“All right. You’ve done well, Ruti will always be my prided younger sister.”
I said as I sparingly stroked Ruti’s head in order to not get it too dirty.
The tips of Ruti’s lips lifted slightly as she laughed happily.
I was hit with the impulse to tightly hug her after seeing my younger sister’s cute gesture but I held myself back.
After leaving the greenhouse, we found Tise feeding Ugeuge-san with insects since she had finished caring for the other herbs.
“Thank you for your hard work … are they fine now?”
“Yes, because it was noticed immediately. A couple of sprouts might not make it but the majority should recover.”
Tise exhaled in relief.
Ugeuge-san widened its legs as if in relief and plopped its stomach on the ground.
Both Ruti and I smiled after seeing its reaction.
“Ugeuge-san seemed to have been downcast because it failed to notice the proliferating Cold Mold. Even though it would have noticed it immediately if it walked over the soil.”
Just like Tise said, Ugeuge-san was hanging its head down. It looked a little sad.
“I see, it would be great if we have Ugeuge-san help out with the care of the farm in the future.”
“Yup. Ugeuge-san is a reliable spider.”
It was true that there will not be any farmers capable of being so close to the soil like Ugeuge-san.
Responding to Ruti and my words, Ugeuge-san stood up and raised its arms as if to declare that it will do its best.
The Mistome-shi and Veronia case was still ongoing.
However, we had already investigated what we needed to. All that remained was to wait for the response from the Holy Church and bring that to the negotiation table with Prince Sarius.
As for the point of compromise for the negotiation … we will only be able to decide after we receive information from the Church on what was happening in the Kingdom of Veronia.
In short, we’ve done what we could.
In that case, it was better that we returned to our slow life and did things like this.
Guard Captain Moen laughed in amazement when I told him that.
We ran into Moen and Adventurer Guild Executive Garadin as we were on the way to the bath in Ruti’s mansion.
They had just returned from the meeting about the cooperation between adventurers and guards that was held in the Northern District Adventurers Guild.
We reached Zoltan at the same time Garadin and Moen returned.
Their original purpose was to hide their escort of Mistome-shi to the settlement from the eyes of Veronia and to think of countermeasures.
However, since Ruti and we found out about it, they changed their plan and entrusted Ruti with the planning of measures against Veronia.
For that reason, Garadin and others returned to Zoltan and similar to us in a sense, returned to their regular routine of working as Guard Captain and Adventurer Guild Executive.
“This is the first time I’ve gotten confused by a situation.”
Moen had a bitter face. In the meeting that Ruti attended, Moen’s stand was to reject Veronia’s request together with Garadin but he was also the only one confused by the situation.
“Zoltan’s guards have never experienced warships arriving from other countries. We don’t even have a manual. We somehow avoided a paralyzed system with your instructions but I am uneasy just how far we will be able to act if war breaks loose.”
“You’ve done training to protect Zoltan so you will be fine. In the Goblin Upheaval where Mistome-shi played a role, I heard it was pretty much a war but under Mistome-shi’s leadership, the Zoltan guards fought impressively.”
“I was just a child at that time but … I remember that the adults all seemed so reliable. That’s right, I have to believe in our training and my subordinates. If I don’t believe in them, who will?”
Moen nodded and said to himself.
“I’m actually being encouraged by young people like you. Just what kind of life have you lived, I still wish to ask even if it is bad manners.”
“Please regard it as a secret. Also, please let Ademi know that he should bring his Wyvern Race pieces over to play someday.”
“Ah, all right. My son would be happy to hear that.”
The stiffness in Moen’s expression dissolved the moment he heard his son’s name and it felt like he was bursting with determination.
Yup, I’m sure Moen will be fine.
Garadin suddenly spoke up.
“What is it?”
“The mayor is looking for Ruru.”
Ruti tilted her head.
“The mayor’s errand boy came by the Adventurers Guild.”
“But he didn’t come to the farm?”
Ruti’s farm was not famous but naturally, Mayor Tonedo and the Adventurers Guild staff should know that Ruti’s actual job was maintaining a herb farm.
Ruti muttered softly. Her intelligent red pupils turned to me and she nodded.
“Onii-chan, let’s go take a bath first.”
Ruti’s eyes were serious.