I was able to secure the cooperation of the monsters in the Yuguru Great Forest.
It was unexpected, but let’s consider it a good result.
Besides, this is very convenient for creating a new dungeon.
If the entire Yuguru Great Forest can be utilized, the resulting dungeon seems better than the one I had in mind.
With that in mind, I went to sleep.
And then, the next day.
I have returned to the dungeon in the Eld Desert.
The reason is simple.
I came to mine magic stones.
The stock of magic stones brought by Ann’s antlings is not nearly enough to distribute to the monsters in the Yuguru Great Forest, so I came here to mine them.
However, the number of monsters over there is incredibly high.
It’s impossible to get them all.
Well, I’ll mine as much as I can and take it with me.
The beginning is crucial in everything.
If I start with a big gesture, it will leave a good impression on them.
So, I start mining magic stones again.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch.
Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch, gulp.
…Oops! I ended up snacking on some.
Oh no, that won’t do.
For about an hour after that, I continued mining magic stones.
I dug up the magic stones and threw them, stacking them up in one place.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, toss.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, toss.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, toss, clink.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, toss.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, toss.
It’s just repeating a simple task.
Yeah, it might be good when I want to be completely absorbed in something.
『Phew, is this enough?』
In front of me is a mountain of magic stones stacked about my height.
Honestly, it was tough to suppress the desire to eat them.
I’ve dug quite a lot.
Thanks to that, the deep area has expanded considerably.
For now, I’ll make several baskets to take them with me through alchemy.
I instruct the antlings to load the magic stones and bring them.
『Transport all the ones here and feed them to the monsters in the Yuguru Great Forest.』
Hmm, I received a signal from one of the antlings.
What is it…? They’re asking, 『How should we distribute ‘these magic stones’?』
The antlings are pointing at a portion of the magic stones.
Hmm, it’s troublesome to distribute them in detail…
『You can decide at Ann’s discretion. I’ve left the forest to her.』
Basic strategy: delegate everything.
I receive another signal asking, 『Can we really take ‘these magic stones’ as well?』
They’re double-checking for some reason.
『It’s fine, it’s fine. You can take ‘all’ of them.』
The magic stones I dug up are the usual ones.
There’s nothing special about them.
The antlings nod.
That settles it.
The antlings follow the instructions and put the mountain-like pile of magic stones into baskets, then they pass through the teleportation gate.
Oh, I asked Elibel to create a teleportation gate in the deep area as well.
She mentioned that setting up a teleportation gate requires a tremendous amount of magical power, but she easily made it.
Apparently, she substituted my magical power through the magical corridor.
But I’m not tired at all.
I wonder if the amount of magic power required for a teleportation gate isn’t that significant after all?
After finishing the construction of the teleportation gate, Elibel had a stunned expression, but it’s not something to worry about, I guess.
Now, should I resume making golems?
After that, I became engrossed and continued making golems.
And in my intense focus, I didn’t notice something.
I realized that something several hours later.
『Huff… I’ve made quite a lot… Alright, let’s take a break for now.』
Creating the drawing mannequin-type golems is really easy.
I’ve made dozens of them already.
『Oh, it looks like all the magic stones have been carried away.』
After the antlings finished transporting all the magic stones, I took a moment to rest and looked around. That’s when I noticed it.
Wait a minute.
I look at it again.
『………..Where did the remaining ‘evolution magic stones’ that were in this box go?』
I’m sure I put them in this box that I made with alchemy and left them here…
The box is empty.
Why is it open?
And there’s nothing inside.
That’s strange. There should have been at least two left.
『Where did they go….?』
I didn’t design it to open naturally.
I examine the box closely.
The latch part is loose.
…Could it be that during the recent battle, the lid became loose?
Come to think of it, there was a pile of dug-up magic stones near this box…
I placed the magic stones I dug up by tossing them, and I have a feeling that there was a strange sound mixed in when I was throwing them…
Yes, it was like the sound of something opening.
Could it be that one of the thrown magic stones hit the lid, causing it to open and the contents to spill out?
『No, but… that can’t be…』
Knowing myself, it’s entirely possible, and that’s what’s so frustrating.
Now that I think about it, the antlings were also checking repeatedly…
Could it be that they were referring to these ‘evolution magic stone’?
An unpleasant sweat starts dripping.
『…Could it be?』
I had an intensely unpleasant premonition.
Several hours have already passed since then.
I quickly pass through the teleportation gate and head towards the Yuguru Great Forest.
Meanwhile, in the Yuguru Great Forest…
Ann was giving instructions while watching the antlings bring the magic stones.
They had cleared the area in front of the cave and created a space like a plaza, but it was already filled with magical creatures.
The creatures formed a line, and one by one, they received the magic stones from the antlings.
It was like a distribution of food.
『Please take the magic stones in order. No cutting in line.』
The forest creatures were engrossed in eating the magic stones.
Ann watched the scene with admiration.
『As expected of Lord Earth. He has managed to gain control over them without shedding blood… In comparison, I… I resorted to force from the beginning. I still have much to learn.』
She planned to have a candid conversation with the forest monsters again later.
They had been enemies until yesterday, but now they were comrades protecting the same master.
Ann believed they could have a proper conversation this time.
She envisioned days where the creatures of the great forest and she joined hands to protect Lord Earth, and her heart was filled with excitement.
『These truly are dream-like days… Hehe, what would my mother think if she saw me now?』
She had been a recluse before becoming a servant of Lord Earth.
Her mother had scolded and pushed her out into the world, all alone.
What would her mother think if she saw her now?
Ann recalled a little bit of her past.
After a while, a single antling approached Ann.
Curious, Ann noticed that she recognized the magic stone the antling was carrying.
The antling handed the magic stone to Ann.
Ann carefully examines the magic stones brought by the antlings.
There’s no mistaking it.
These are “evolution magic stone.”
The antlings have brought two “evolution magic stone.”
Immediately, Ann confirms with the antlings.
『Did Lord Earth instruct you to give these magic stones to them?』
The antlings nod.
Lord Earth had said, 『Let the creatures of the Ygr Great Forest eat everything that was there,』and the antlings relayed the message to Ann.。
So, it would naturally include the “evolution magic stone” that were casually placed next to the other stones.
The ants assure Ann that they have confirmed it multiple times, so there’s no mistake.
There are four types of creatures that reign at the top of this forest.
Is it about evolving the leaders of two of those four races?
『Did Lord Earth give any instructions on which creatures to feed the stones to?』
The antling answers.
Lord Earth said, 『You can decide at Ann’s discretion,』 and it pass on the message.
The ants would never lie to Ann.
They faithfully fulfill the given instructions and convey them accurately.
However, they tend to take things literally and follow orders without questioning, unless specific instructions are given.
The power of the “evolution magic stone” is truly remarkable.
After all, I’ve experienced it myself.
Furthermore, I heard from Elibel that by consuming a large amount of high-purity magic stones while eating, the creatures’ mortality rate can be significantly reduced.
『The problem is which race to choose…』
But I’m afraid that giving special treatment to only two of these four types might cause problems later on.
It would disrupt the power balance that has been maintained until now.
In that case…
Ann returns to the cave and sends a thought transmission to Elibel.
『Elibel, it’s Ann. I have something I want to confirm――――』
I quickly entered the teleportation gate and headed towards the Yuguru Great Forest.
And the moment I passed through the teleportation gate, I felt it.
Tremendous waves of magical power.
Moreover, there were multiple waves.
Oh… Did they evolve?
I cautiously passed through the cave and stepped outside.
There, I saw four creatures with magical power that set them apart from other monsters.
There were only two remaining evolution magic stones in stock…
『Oh, Lord Earth! Have you come?』
Ann noticed my presence and approached me.
『Please look at them! They have all gained power and are willing to dedicate themselves to Lord Earth.』
Ann excitedly talked about them.
It seems that the leaders of the four races I met yesterday consumed the magic stones.
Dead Snake evolved into Lower King-class Venom Hydra.
Lesser Fenrir evolved into Upper General-class Arc Fenrir.
Red Monkey evolved into Upper General-class Blue Monkey.
Gluttony Spider evolved into Upper General-class Sinister Tarantula.
They each underwent evolution.
The snake even evolved into a Lower King-class…
However, there was something that bothered me.
『Hey, Ann. Why did all four of them evolve? I remember there were only two ‘evolution magic stone’ left.』
『Yes, that’s why I split each of the stones into two and gave them to them.』
『You split them?!』
Oh, so dividing them is still effective?!
『Yes. I confirmed with Elibel, and it seems that dividing the stones into two is still effective. However, the degree of evolution will significantly decrease, but it was thought that evolving all four races would be more convenient for future governance rather than choosing one.』
Ah, that makes sense.
It could cause problems if we treated some of them differently.
If the gaps between them suddenly widened overnight, it would be problematic.
No, wait, that’s not the issue here.
『Moreover, they were originally advanced-class or General-class monsters. Even with a decreased level of evolution, their power becomes tremendous! They will be even more useful to Lord Earth!』
Some of them have reached the level of a Lower King-class, just like me!, Ann happily explains.
I guess she’s glad to have company.
『Everyone! From now on, give your all for Lord Earth!!』
Ann shouts, and the forest monsters roar in response.
Dry laughter is the only response I can muster in the face of Ann’s excited speech and the enthusiastic forest monsters.
By the way, these four races have become the guardians of the forest, serving as Ann’s personal guard.
Things are going well…
By the way, when I told Elibel that we ran out of stock of “evolution magic stone,” she got really angry.
By the way, all of the evolved leaders of the four races are males.
Ann is in a reverse harem situation.
A little clarification about the evolution magic stone:
The degree of evolution caused by the evolution magic stone varies depending on the growth potential of the creature. Ann and Pururu evolved from the lowest class to the King-class and Disaster-class in one go because they became Earth’s subordinates and gained significant latent abilities.
The leaders of the forest were already in the mature stage of their strength, so their evolution was limited to the level of Lower General-class → Upper General-class and so on. Also, they have not officially become subordinates yet.
In Elibel’s case, since she had just been revived and her soul and body were unstable, her evolution was limited to the General-class. However, if she had waited a few more days before using the stone, she could have evolved straight to the Evil God-class. It’s a missed opportunity.