The Man Picked up by the Gods – Volume 3 Chapter 304: Customs in the Great Forest II (1/2)

“Stem-jii-san, do you know about it?” [Soldier 2]

“Yeah, it’s a story from so long ago I don’t even remember when I last heard of it… Give me a sec.” [Stem]

The elderly man, which the soldier referred to as ‘Stem-jii-san’, said that as he moved to a nearby table. For a moment, the thick leather of a beast’s hide on his clothes looked like armor, but after a closer look, it was actually an apron. When he handed a mug to one of the adventurers, it became evident that he was working here as a waiter.

“He worked as an adventurer here in the Great Forest in his youth, and even after retiring, he’s still here running a tavern. You couldn’t ask for a more knowledgeable guy when it comes to the Great Forest than him.” [Soldier 2]

“Really, all that means is that I’ve been here for a long time.” [Stem]

Stem-san put down the mug, then he picked up a small chair without a backrest from nearby. With his other hand, he took out a smoking pipe from the front pocket of his apron, then he sat himself between me and the guard and lit the pipe before speaking.

“You wanted to know about Cormi Village, right?” [Stem]

“Yeah, I’ve never heard of it before.” [Soldier 2]

“That’s not a surprise. I’m not that particular about it myself, but Cormi village was swallowed by the Great Forest about 40 years ago.” [Stem]

“40 years ago? You mean it’s even deeper than the front lines!?” [Soldier 2]

The soldier found himself raising his voice, and because of the words ‘front line’, all eyes gathered on us. That’s probably referring to the deepest base in the forest.

If Cormi Village is even further that, then it looks like I’m headed for the part that’s completely devoid of humans. A place considered dangerous even from the residents of this Great Forest. It’s no wonder that so many eyes gathered on me.

“That’s definitely the place. I was born in the village after that. There was a time when I lived at Cormi Village too, so I know where it is.” [Stem]

“You’ve lived at Cormi Village?” [Ryouma]

“It was about 50 years ago… The king then decided to colonize the forest right after he ascended the throne. Soldiers were sent in droves and wreaked havoc in the forest, so my hometown, which was the closest to the forest, was quickly exposed to the forest’s wrath. I evacuated before the place got completely overrun. What business could you have at a place like that?” [Stem]

“I’m going there to visit a grave and receive my inheritance.” [Ryouma]

He asked me for my reason, so I gave him the usual. When I did, though, the soldier opened his eyes wide in surprise.

“Wait, you’re from that village? But didn’t you say you’re coming here for the first time?” [Soldier 2]

“It’s my first time using a base in the forest, but it’s not my first time in the Great Forest.” [Ryouma]

“Well, there’s no way anyone could have interpreted your words in that direction. Can anyone even survive out there?” [Soldier 2]

“I wouldn’t say it’s impossible.” [Stem]

It’s no surprise that he’s so doubtful, really. Personally, I’m more surprised that Stem-san beat me to the punch.

“I’m surprised there’s still a survivor, but it used to be a trading hub like this base here. It took nearly 10 years before Cormi Village was swallowed by the forest too. It started out as a regular farming village, but they surrounded it with sturdy walls, dug deep and wide moats, and made preparations for defense long before it was devoured.

A lord’s mansion was built, and the royal and national forces were stationed there too.

Eventually, the village was abandoned, but there seemed to have been a plan to expand the village into a fortress city to colonize the forest and serve as a defense for the nation.” [Stem]

“So, in other words… There’s more than enough land there for people to live in?” [Soldier 2]

“Well, the infrastructure is there at least, and the construction and fortification of facilities likely continued until the village was abandoned. Moreover, in the decades after it was devoured by the forest, primarily around 40 to 30 years ago, it wasn’t actually all that rare for people to travel in and out of the village. There was trade in forest materials and reparations from the kingdom they referred to as ‘financial support.’ There were also funds to develop an industry or something.” [Stem]

“Perhaps, you’re referring to pepper? I wasn’t related to it, but it was cultivated at the village.” [Ryouma]

“Oh, yes, that must be it. The climate changed when the village was engulfed by the forest, allowing for the cultivation of spices. Because of that the village thrived. When money came, people gathered, and a robust defense system was established. In a sense, you could say that safety could be bought. Well, at least up until 30 years ago.” [Stem]

“Did something happen 30 years ago?” [Soldier 2]

“Quit dawdlin’” [Adventurer}

That came from one of the adventurers sitting at the nearby tables. I’d noticed it earlier, but apparently, many of them had started using our conversation as entertainment for their drinking.

“…The country’s plan to develop the forest failed. That meant casualties. Not only did they fail to make progress, the vain struggle they put up caused the forest to one-sidedly expand instead. The pockets of us adventurers might have been lined up, but the country suffered grave losses.” [Stem]

“Ah~ When that happens the army and the noble soldiers will leave.” [Soldier 2]

“Exactly. Adventurers, merchants, and the old villagers that have been there since stayed behind. Many claimed that the absence of the military and the aristocrats actually made them feel at ease since they couldn’t be pushed around anymore, and not having to pay a commission meant more money too… There really were a lot of people with no sense of crisis.” [Stem]

That might be what they refer to as ‘normalcy bias.’ The national army withdrew, but they could just hire adventurers with money to replace the soldiers. No one cared even if the support funds paid by the country disappeared. They irrationally believed that they could prosper since they’ve done so until now, but reality proved otherwise.

Stem-jii-san sighed along with his smoke, and everyone that was listening made an astonished face.

“I’m sure you can tell already, but Cormi Village deteriorated rapidly. I still remember seeing those that stayed in the village trading goods with those from the new base, but the frequency and the number of people just kept decreasing. The last one I saw was 20 years ago. Toward the end, they couldn’t even complete the trade anymore, and they sounded more like extortionists.

Neither I nor the others could be bothered to help— Ah, sorry.

I don’t consider you, who managed to come here on your own, the same as those people, but regardless, I’m sure you don’t appreciate hearing people talk ill of your hometown.” {Stem]

“I don’t really mind. The village might have been my hometown, but I was mostly treated as an outsider by the villagers, so I have neither attachment nor any plans to stand up for them. After my grandparents, who picked me up and raised me, passed away, it was clear that I’d only be treated as a villager when they needed something, and it felt like I was being exploited, so I took the risk and ran away from the village.” [Ryouma]

I mean, in the first place, I’m not a villager, but of course, I’m not about to tell them that.

Looks like as the village approached its demise, the people that remained really did treat my grandparents just as poorly as Gayn and the others explained. I doubt there’d be anyone still around that’s acquainted with them though… Hmm?

I wonder why, but for some reason, Stem-san’s gaze intensified as smoke leaked from his half-opened mouth.

“Jii-san, is something the matter?” [Soldier 2]

“Oh, it’s nothing special, but… Did you say grandparents just now? You’re not referring to those two by any chance, are you?” [Stem]

“Eh!? Could it be that you know my grandparents too!?” [Ryouma]






9 responses to “The Man Picked up by the Gods – Volume 3 Chapter 304: Customs in the Great Forest II (1/2)”

  1. Belkar Avatar

    Thank you!

  2. Nyamachi Avatar

    Thanks for the chapter!

  3. leflemard Avatar

    there’s a bit of confusion near the beginning in who speak what.

  4. Otaku Hikikomori Avatar

    Thanks for the treat.

  5.  Avatar

    Thanks for the update! Awesome translation! May God bless you!

  6. Ajuga reptans Avatar
    Ajuga reptans

    How exciting, can’t wait for the next chapter! Thank you for the translation.

  7.  Avatar


  8.  Avatar

    Ryouma is a mooth lier

  9.  Avatar

    Good work out there.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.