Dryad and the wheat field
“Is agriculture the main source of food of the city?”
A wheat field extended in front of Raiz and his subordinates.
“Why have they planted everything so close to the others? They should leave more space between plants.”
Dryad, who didn’t have any notion of farming, tilted her head.
“Yeeeah, you’re riiight.”
Treant also looked baffled as he observed the field.
“Hey, are you perhaps from that new guild?”
A male voice reached them.
When they turned their faces, they saw a young man approaching.
“Hello, my name is Raiz. I’m from the Monsters’ Delivery!”
“Hi, I’m John. I manage the fields around here.”
“Pleased to meet you, John.”
Both reached out and shook hands.
“Drop the formalities, Raiz.”
“Likewise. Dryad and Treant will be my assistants for today.”
“My name is Dryad, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I hope we will be able to solve your problem.”
With her elegant attitude and her beautiful floral skirt, the girl looked like the daughter of a noble family. After her greeting, she gently smiled at the man.
“Ah, p-pleased to meet you, Dryad. I’m John!”
With flushed cheeks, he introduced himself again, dazzled by both the beautiful visage and smile of the girl.
He was completely captivated by the forest maiden, so he ended up stuttering.
Greeted Treant, moving his branches as the leaves rustled.
“W-Woah! What the… O-Oh, is this another monster…?”
John didn’t expect him to be a monster, but since the beautiful girl was still looking at him, he tried to hide his uneasiness.
After all, it’s easy to mistake a treant for a common tree.
“Did you request our help?”
Raiz remembered that an old man made the request.
“Well… it was my father, but he hurt his back, so he went to the city to be healed by that medic horse. I’m filling in for him.”
The young man explained that he was acting as a substitute.
“Ah, but I know what’s the problem. Please, follow me. Ah, Dryad, watch your steps. The ground is uneven and difficult to walk on.”
“How kind of you, John.”
She thanked him giggling.
“N-No problem, I just wanted to let you know…”
The young man blushed again. It was like he didn’t see her like a monster.
“You take really good care of these plants, don’t you?”
Dryad commented kindly.
Since she was an arboreal monster, seeing that the plants were healthy made her happy.
“Y-Yes, I do, but it’s mostly my father’s work. Lately, he has been asking me to take his place due to his backache!”
He replied with not much modesty.
Dryad cared about the plants’ health, not about who was taking care of them, but Raiz wasn’t that rude and decided to not mention it.
“Wow, are you serious? Taking care of a field this big is remarkable.”
“R-Really?! Hearing that from a beauty like you makes me really glad!”
But even though he was in high spirits, the moment later he hung his head and let out a sigh.
“What is the matter, John?”
“Dad entrusted his field to me, but I have no clue about what is happening to the plants. It’s disheartening.”
It was a shame that such bad luck befell on him. Since he didn’t know the cause, he couldn’t possibly solve the situation himself.
They walked for another while before stopping.
“Here, take a look. The wheat here is withering, and I’m afraid that it’s due to some illness, since the rest of the field looks fine.”
Raiz looked around and confirmed what the man just said.
“Do you know what could have happened?”
“No clue here. Dryad, Treant, what do you think about this?”
Raiz turned to look at them, and noticed Dryad examining the plants thoroughly.
She didn’t reply at first, and started to distance herself from them to confirm if the conditions of the near fields were good. When she finished her investigation, she came back to report.
“Did you find something?”
She nodded slowly.
“The wheat is withering because of an illness.”
“Yes, and should the infection spread, it will infect every field. Those nearby look good, but they already contracted it.”
“Oh my… I never seen something like this.”
John sighed when Dryad confirmed his fears.
“What can we do to heal it?”
Were the grains edible although the stem withered? Or was it necessary to act as soon as possible?
Raiz silently waited for Dryad’s opinion.
“If it keeps spreading, the entire field will wither.”
“Oh no! If we lose our harvest, it will be the end of us!”
“Wheat says it feels baaad.”
Treant acted as a go-between for the wheat. Arboreal monsters could understand what the plants were feeling.
“Indeed. It says that if that guy comes back, it will feel even worse.”
“That guy…? Ah!”
John raised his voice.
“Have you remembered something?”
“Yeah. Some time ago a traveling merchant dropped by and pleaded me to sell him some of my wheat. He said that even the older one was fine. He was going to pay me a good price, so I accepted.”
“He probably carried sick wheat, and somehow your field was infected.”
Guessed the girl, and John hugged his head.
“Hell! It would have been better if I hadn’t sold anything to him! But selling when it’s convenient is the first rule of business…”
Raiz really wanted to say ‘you deserve this’, but he bit his tongue and swallowed those words like a true gentleman.
“Is there a way to heal it?”
“Well, yes. There is, but…”
“Really?! Then use it right away, please! If we have a poor harvest, there won’t be enough food for the winter! And it will affect other people too, since we’re not the only ones managing this field!”
John looked at Raiz and his subordinates with puppy eyes.
“Dryad, if there’s a way, could you use it?”
“…Yes, I’ll take care of it.”
She agreed without delay.
“Usually, when plants get sick, humans uproot and burn them to avoid that the nearby fields are infected. This happens because medicines to heal plants don’t exist. On the other hand, humans have medicines to heal themselves.”
Dryad knit her brows disappointed.
“Could Healing Magic work?”
“R-Right! Let’s ask the unicorn if he can help us!”
Stated John who believed he had found the solution, but the girl shook her head in denial.
“It wouldn’t work. Unicorn’s healing works only on a single target at a time. But how many plants are in this field, several hundred? Thousands? Also, even if they were healed, in the worst case scenario the plants could become infected again.”
Healing Magic had to appoint a single target each time it was used, while Offensive Magic could affect a wide area in a single use.
“B-But there’s something we can do, right?!”
Clinging onto a ray of hope, John looked at Dryad.
“Yes, you’re right. I was going to explain it.”
Looking at her, John couldn’t control himself and blushed.
“It’s possible to use an alternative to medicines.”
After a short pause, she answered.
“We can use the sap or nectar of an arboreal monster.”