Chapter 366 - Isn’t It Normal for the Hero to Be Rewarded for Her Work
"Are you saying this is where the cause of the pollution is"
Taking advantage of the Hero's reputation, Alice brought the treants to the place where she found the Pollution Roulette—under the giant tree in the middle of the Kalu Forest.
Then, she told the treants that the source of the pollution was here.
Although the treants wouldn't show much respect to Alice simply because she was the Hero, they were still willing to trust her, a "noble" soul chosen by God.
Only, even after the treants circled the giant tree for some time, they failed to find anything wrong with it.
The treants' ability to sense natural products was superior to even the elves.
It was especially true when the target in question was a plant.
After all, they were essentially of the same species.
Hence, the treants could clearly sense the state of the giant tree.
However, apart from the air and mana surrounding the tree being polluted, the only thing that caught their attention about the tree was its weakened vitality.
The tree didn't even seem like it had caught any illnesses.
Alice already knew that the treants wouldn't be able to find any clues.
So, she walked up to the tree, lightly tapped its trunk, and reverted the Aspect Separation she had used on the Pollution Roulette.
Immediately, the treants experienced a feeling of incongruity.
This was because they suddenly noticed a collar wrapped around the giant tree's robust trunk.
At a glance, it was obvious that this collar wasn't meant to envelop something as huge as the giant tree's trunk.
However, the collar was extraordinarily flexible, stretching to a point where it could envelop the entire tree trunk.
Meanwhile, the identity of this collar was none other than the Pollution Roulette.
Originally, Alice thought that since Pollution Roulette had a relatively normal name, its appearance would also be normal.
However, when she canceled the effects of "Disguiser," what appeared in her hand was yet another item that she couldn't carry in public.
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Initially, Alice thought it was a collar meant for pet animals.
However, upon closer inspection, Alice found heart patterns engraved around the collar.
No matter how she looked at it, the collar didn't seem like it was a collar meant for pets.
Instead, it looked more like an object to raise the intimacy between husband and wife...
Although the collar's appearance wasn't as striking as "This Is Wrong" and "It's So Short," it still wasn't something Alice would dare to carry in public.
However, upon testing the collar, Alice found that it was very flexible and could be pulled to incredible lengths.
At this discovery, she tried to wrap the collar around the trunk of the giant tree and was surprised to learn that it was possible to do so.
Hence, Alice took advantage of this situation and changed the Pollution Roulette's concept into the "tree" concept using Aspect Separation.
This was why the treants had failed to notice the Pollution Roulette, even when they were looking at it directly.
When their senses perceived the Pollution Roulette, their minds would subconsciously assume it was part of the giant tree and ignore its existence.
"I didn't think the source of the recent pollution would be hidden right before our eyes.
Moreover, we've utterly failed to notice it throughout this time.
That person must have used some kind of magic to make us ignore this thing."
When the treant elder suddenly noticed the collar's existence, he quickly understood what had happened.
Evidently, the person who had put this collar on the giant tree had cast some kind of magic to make others ignore the collar's presence.
This led to a situation where they had failed to notice the source of the forest's recent pollution even though it was placed in such an open location.
The treant elder grew furious at this realization, his face becoming even more wrinkled than usual.
Of course, he didn't think this was a trick played by Alice.
Instead, he placed all of the blame on the human who had snuck into their territory three months ago.
However, it wasn't exactly wrong to say that Alice had nothing to do with the Kalu Forest's pollution.
After all, she wasn't the one who had brought the Pollution Roulette here.
She had merely moved it to a more conspicuous position so that the treants would have an easier time finding it.
She was merely using the opportunity of resolving the Pollution Roulette to ask for a block of Living Wood from the treants.
If the Pollution Roulette was left to its own devices, it would bring catastrophic consequences to the treants.
So, Alice felt that it wasn't excessive for her to ask for a block of Living Wood in exchange for helping the treants.
Moreover, although Living Wood was considered a treasure by the treants, it was by no means unique.
Of course, some might say that Alice's was unnecessarily elaborate, and she could have simply asked the treants for a block of Living Wood.
However, considering the treants' bad impression of humans, Alice felt that if she were to do that, the treants would most likely refuse her request.
Rather than take such a risk, Alice decided she would employ a little trick to secure the Living Wood she came for.
This would save her the time and effort she would potentially need to waste debating with the treants.
"This thing exudes a very disturbing aura.
Just getting close gives me a suffocating feeling.
The mana in my body also becomes incredibly sluggish.
It seems there's no mistaking it.
This thing is the culprit of the recent pollution."
After analyzing the Pollution Roulette for some time, the treant elder nodded to Alice and spoke to her in a much more amicable tone.
As someone who had lived for thousands of years, he was naturally aware that while the Hero might be a human, the actions of humans destroying the environment to develop their civilization wasn't something the Hero could stop.
Not to mention, the Hero was currently helping them with this problem.
So, his attitude toward Alice had naturally changed for the better.
However, even though the Hero had helped them find the source of the pollution, the treants quickly fell into an awkward predicament.
After hesitating for a moment, the treant elder asked Alice:
Hero, although we know that this thing is the cause of the pollution, how should we remove it"
The treant elder had naturally thought of resolving this issue without the Hero's help.
That way, their race could avoid owing the Hero a favor.
However, upon experimenting, they found that the collar wrapped around the tree had no openings.
It was as if the collar was put on the tree from top to bottom.
Moreover, even though the collar was very flexible, it was also extremely tough.
Even the treant elder, the strongest out of all the treants, failed to damage it in the slightest when he tried to attack it with mana.
Meanwhile, Alice couldn't help but sigh at the futility of the treants' actions.
The Pollution Roulette was a bonafide Law-grade weapon.
Unlike the panties that were forcibly evaluated as "Artifacts" by her right hand, the Pollution Roulette's actual abilities matched the rating it received.
There was no way the treants would have the strength to destroy a Law-grade weapon.
Hence, the treants' inability to destroy the Pollution Roulette was within Alice's expectations.
After seeing the treant elder awkwardly asking her for help, Alice inwardly smiled before following her original plan and saying in a gruff voice:
"The nature of this thing is considerably serious.
It feels similar to items found in the demon realm...
If we want to take care of it, violence is unlikely to be the solution.
Instead, the best solution would be to neutralize its effects."
The reason Alice hinted that the collar might be an item from the demon realm was so that she would have a reason to intervene in the handling of the collar as the "Hero." As for the matter of "neutralizing" the collar...
"This item is designed to destroy the mana in the air, causing the affected mana to become incomplete.
This is the source of the 'pollution.' So, we need to find something with an opposing nature to neutralize this destructive property," Alice explained.
Then, she turned to the treant elder and continued, "For example...something like Living Wood."
Alice's words stunned the treant elder.
Although he had vaguely realized where the conversation was heading when Alice mentioned the essence of the pollution was the destruction of mana, he still couldn't help but hesitate a little when Alice mentioned the use of Living Wood.