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206 A Day of Rest Part Five and A Half

 The feast was held as scheduled with the wood elves' enmity not affecting any of the Players. In fact, most of them were actually putting their backs into it since they liked the look on those elven faces that disliked them but couldn't do anything about it.

Habanero wheat being baked and spreading the scent of cumin in the air-the Players' had gained variety in their feasting events after Life Skills were introduced.

Outsiders might find the Players' behavior indescribable. After all, the elves' royal capital was an unfamiliar place to them, and yet the first thing they did upon arrival was not to strengthen ties, but to hold a feast.

That being said, only the Players themselves understood why they did that: Be it the refugees from Tierra who lived near Cromwell or any other place, most Players were wanderers who had left their homes aside from the original citizens of the Unnamed Town.

And after losing their home, they now saw the Church of Games as their second home.

Moreover, the Church of Games did not have a strong presence-unlike other churches, they had no building, no temple or even a shrine.

But if there was one thing representing the Church of Games, it would undoubtedly be the Lifestones.

That was exactly why the Players would instead consider that whichever spot a Lifestone was placed was where the Church of Games had a presence, and holding a feast was a special way of recognizing that this was a part of their second home.

Wearing either dolphin head hats or anglerfish head hats, they would dance and sing away on the square-it was a mess since they were dancing and singing to different tunes without any sense of order, but the delight and passion were somehow palpable.

As is tradition, there were free-flowing baked meat and drinks on one edge of the square, with a side dish of ballherb (a vegetable resembling lettuce) added in its lonesome amongst the tons of meat. Still, the feast had gone on for a while and half of the meat was already gone, while no one person took any ballherb...

It appeared that it was going to stay all by itself before a hero discovered the unique way of eating it known as 'lettuce over meat'...

Meanwhile, other Players who had learnt alchemy to varying degrees had created something similar to fireworks. Like the other Players who were competing with whose magical plant was the most beautiful, those alchemist apprentices were also pitting themselves up against other Players with the firework recipes they had come up personally.

Hence, on that day, the Players were afforded a view of all bizarre assortment of fireworks, with some actually having design issues so fundamental that it couldn't be launched and simply blew up on the ground.

Watching as the alchemist apprentices blew themselves up cheerfully amidst the banging and popping, Marni was chewing through some baked meat while debating against Ivan on how they should sell meat tenderizer to the wood elves with some profit as a matter of course.

"No way, boss. The wood elves don't eat meat-and even if we compromise by a mile, they would still hold us in disdain, thinking nothing of us." Although Ivan wasn't concerned with the elves' attitude, he understood well how the wood elves saw humans.

"No, that's not it, Ivan." Marni shook his head. "It's true that the wood elves don't like us now, but it's fact that we are allies now, and our partnership is just a little rough on the edges. I am convinced that one elf would eventually come forward and be a bridge between us and them."

"...But what does that have to with meat tenderizer, boss?"

"We could sell it as makeup!"

"..."

Ivan had a look on his face that said 'you're-definitely-the-one-to-blame-if-human-elf-relations-breaks-apart'.

Marni was about to offer a logical retort for his honor's sake when he noticed something and turned his head.

It was the young elf from before, who was gingerly standing between an alley just a few feet away from the square where the feast was held, seemingly afraid to approach.

"Look, the first elf who would come forward is already here. That's why I'm convinced the bridge would eventually be made." Marni grinned at Ivan, biting off whatever pieces were left of the meat he was holding and approached the young elf.

"Hey, so you've come." He quickly greeted the young elf who was about to run out of instincts. "Perfect timing, though, our feast is about to get very interesting."

"Very interesting?" The young elf tilted his head as he looked at the Players in the square.

At some point, the fireworks competition had escalated to a fireworks battle. All the Players were now taking up the alchemist apprentices' crude fireworks and firing them in every direction.

There was only chaos.

"Burning people with those weird flames is interesting?" The young elf asked, confused.

"Ahem. It's just a little interlude." Marni's smile stiffened, but his years as a merchant kept him from showing too much emotion.

But before he could come up with something to distract the young elf, the Players were suddenly cheering loudly.

They all turned by instinct towards the commotion to find a Holy Lancer riding a condor, having wrapped a bunch of fireworks around himself like a suicide bomber and shooting for the skies.

In the next split second, that Player cried out.

"I'm blowing up!"

He then crashed into the wood elves' barrier into the most dazzling blast of fireworks of the day!

Not only were the Players watching unsurprised, they were all cheering and applauding instead at the bits and pieces dropping from the skies, giving thumbs up and shouting 'awesome'!

Watching from a corner, Marni thought that these people would be suspicious and highly dangerous terrorists if he wasn't privy to the inner workings of the Church of Games.

Let alone the wood elves.

He immediately felt that the young elf's stare become stinging.

The young elf's curved eyes narrowed into a deadly glare even as he asked with a very suspicious tone. "...Interesting?"

"There's always that one weird fellow trying to get attention and please the crowd with some crazy antics." Marni cleared his throat and explained a little raggedly. "And, well, we should respect their... hobbies..."

'This isn't good. It looks like the bridge of friendship between human and wood elves is about to collapse.'