Chapter 357 - Lilith Still Doesn't Know The Situation's Severity
Sylvia might have said the search for the culprit wouldn't be a problem, but inspecting every thief in the Rhine Kingdom who had learned "Traceless" still wouldn't be easy.
Even if Sylvia held significant influence in the Thieves Guild, her influence wasn't all-encompassing.
Many thieves might assist Sylvia when requested, but they weren't Sylvia's subordinates.
They wouldn't go to her like obedient dogs simply because Sylvia asked to meet them.
In most cases, Sylvia would still have to visit these thieves in person.
Handling the search in person wasn't necessarily a bad thing, either, since Sylvia could conduct her search as secretly as possible.
After all, she couldn't simply tell her thief associates, "I suspect you might be the person who had stolen the Royal Magic Tower's copy of Demon King's Shadow sometime ago, so take this magic crystal and prove your innocence." She had to secretly get the suspected thieves to make physical contact with the magic crystal and observe the crystal's changes or lack thereof.
All in all, even though Sylvia had great influence in the thief community, it would still take her around one or two weeks before she could finish inspecting all of the thieves who had learned Traceless in the Rhine Kingdom.
If she had to extend her search overseas, it might take her one or two months to complete Alice's request.
It was also fortunate that they had the condition of "thieves who had learned Traceless" to go by.
Without this condition, it'd take a minimum of two years to check all the thieves operating in the five human kingdoms.
However, Alice didn't intend to sit still and do nothing during these one or two weeks.
Although she had taken care of most of the things she needed to do for the moment, she still had one relatively important task: locate a piece of Living Wood to use as Andusia's replacement.
Living Wood was the treant race's treasure, and it was practically impossible for outsiders to get their hands on any.
Because of this, Living Wood was regarded as one of the rarest materials in this world by alchemists, its rarity surpassing even the Seeds of Nature.
The only reason Andusia had managed to get her hands on a block of Living Wood was because she had employed a time-tested tactic—stealing by force.
The birth of Living Wood was also a mystery, though it must be a very demanding process.
Otherwise, the treants wouldn't have treated it so preciously.
The treants had guarded their Living Wood so preciously that one could only rarely find it being mentioned in alchemy books.
Even Lilith, a golden spoon who had seen all sorts of strange and valuable treasures, had failed to think of Living Wood when she came into contact with Andusia.
It could be seen that Living Wood was incredibly rare even to the various human kingdoms' royalty.
Of course, even if Lilith didn't know about the existence of Living Wood, she should know about the treants.
As for Alice, although she similarly bore the identity of a kingdom's princess, this was an identity she had picked up only a few months ago.
She had also only transmigrated to this world a few months ago.
She remained ignorant of many local matters, so she decided to ask Lilith about the treants.
"The treants What are you looking for them for Those guys are incredibly xenophobic.
They'll drive away any humans they see.
They'll even attack you if you try to stay in their territory for too long.
Because of this, they have a terrible reputation among human mercenaries," Lilith said with a surprised look on her face.
After their conversation in the cafe ended, the two of them returned to their respective homes.
However, Lilith didn't think Alice would call her so soon to ask about the treants out of the blue.
"I doubt you'll receive a good reception from the treants, even if you are the Hero.
Unlike the elves, no Hero has ever appeared from the treants.
So, even Heroes won't receive special treatment from them."
Alice couldn't help but frown a little when she heard Lilith's answer.
She didn't think Lilith's evaluation of the treants would be so negative.
It would seem that the treants had really left a bad impression on outsiders.
At the same time, Alice more or less understood why Andusia would rob the treants instead of bargaining for one.
The treants had most likely hurt her pride during negotiations.
When Alice imagined Andusia angrily bombarding the treants with spells and flying away with a block of Living Wood amidst the treants' angry bellows, she couldn't help but get an inexplicable urge to laugh.
Of course, the scene she imagined in her mind was definitely false.
After all, the Andusia back then wasn't the size of a figurine.
However, even though Alice could guess and understand why Andusia had done what she did all those years ago, she didn't agree with Andusia's decision to rob the treants.
It definitely wasn't a good deed to steal someone's treasure.
Although Alice had similarly stolen the elves' Seed of Nature, she had left many good things for the elves in return.
"Do you know why the treants are so xenophobic" Alice asked.
Although she now knew the treants were unfriendly to other races, she needed a block of Living Wood to recover Andusia.
Otherwise, she would be left with no choice but to scam Lilith.
So, even if there were going to be challenges awaiting her, she still wanted to give it a try.
"Logically, even if the treants are xenophobic, there should have been many people who had made contact with them over the years, right Did these people get any information on the treants"
"Why are the treants xenophoic I know that.
Or, more specifically, it's essentially common knowledge among mercenaries.
One of my bodyguards used to be a mercenary, and I learned about the treants from him," Lilith said.
"The treants haven't always been xenophobic.
On the contrary, they even shared friendly relations with humans throughout history.
Their relationship with other races has only deteriorated in recent decades."
"Recent decades" Alice grew a little curious.
If she went by Lilith's words, her previous assumption of Andusia robbing the treants because the treants were xenophobic would be false.
Instead, the treants had probably only said harsh words to Andusia because of the bad reputation of Demon Kings.
"Did any major events happen in recent decades How did the treants grow to be so dissatisfied with other races"
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"Rather than one big event, it'd be more accurate to say that this dissatisfaction was accumulated over countless minor events," Lilith said, her voice sounding a little helpless.
"I'm sure you are aware of this, but the advent of the internet in recent decades has drastically improved the efficiency of communication and the sharing of knowledge across long distances.
As a result, our civilization saw rapid growth.
Meanwhile, accompanying this growth is the creation of numerous factories and heavy industries."
After listening up to this point, Alice quickly understood what Lilith was getting at.
After all, a similar situation had taken place back on Earth.
The only difference was that Earth did not have a race like the treants.
"So, you mean to say that the reason the relationship between humans and treants had deteriorated so rapidly is because the development of human civilization resulted in the destruction of forests"
"That is basically the case.
The treants are the children of nature.
From the treants' perspective, forests, trees, and plants are their kin, and what humans have done in recent decades was no different from massacring their kin.
It'd be strange if the treants would treat us kindly after such a situation," Lilith said, sighing.
"Honestly, if not because the treants lack the strength to beat humans, I bet they would have already plotted to take revenge on humans.
But there's no helping this situation.
For the sake of civilization's development, it is necessary to develop some forests.
Not to mention, the five kingdoms have always conducted detailed analysis and planning before carrying out any large-scale deforestation.
We've made sure that none of the forests we remove will affect the surrounding mana environment."
Alice believed in Lilith's claims.
If the humans of this world had developed their civilization without any regard for consequences, the human realm's environment would have become similar to Earth's.
However, in reality, forests still cover a significant part of the human realm.
If the treants were to transmigrate to Earth, they would probably die on the spot after seeing the state of Earth's forests.
"Anyway, that basically sums up the treants' situation.
Unless you must get the treants' help, I suggest you give up or consider other options," Lilith said.
Of course, Lilith would have never imagined that if Alice were to really give up on the treants, the one to suffer a loss would be herself.