Prophecy Knowledge? Was that related to the other plants? A frown formed on my face, I still vividly remembered the plant— my friend. However, it was almost akin to a shift in priorities. I had to understand why it had given me a System notification. I thought about it for a moment, about the plant I had called my friend and couldn’t help but tilt my head for a second. There was knowledge about it in my mind, I sort of understood it before— when I was a kid, but now it felt as if I actually understood things.
I pushed mana onto my ring and took out a seed. It was white and devoid of any features aside from its unnaturally smooth surface. Shifting my mana from my finger to my palm, I pushed it forward and thought about the seed I had in my mind. It was small, and almost star shaped—it was close to a small ball with spikes—I felt the seed shift within my hand, and when I opened my eyes I saw a small seed, slightly bigger than the previous one and it was a dark red in color. It was the size of a very small pebble, and small black spikes filled its body.
As I was about to feed it mana, I heard a shift next to me.
“Blair, are you okay?” Sun, The Guardian asked, awakening me from my stupor.
I took a small breath. “I am, it’s just—” I thought for a brief moment. “Do you know of Prophecies?”
He tilted his head. “You mean, the calling of life? What about your calling?”
“Right.” I nodded. “I just got Prophecy knowledge from reminiscing and remembering. I just find it… Weird.”
He let out a small sigh. “If it’s related to your calling, then it is normal,” he mused, “but I want to ask, how do you feel?”
I thought for a moment, trying to place importance in his question. I missed my plant friend, but it was something that happened a long time ago— of course, I regretted it. But I also felt a sense of detachment now, as odd as it was that it made me cry to remember. If anything, I couldn’t help but wonder, why did my parents make me do that? It didn’t make sense…
I shook my head, and Sun continued to speak.
“Even if your memories seem to help you attain power, please do tread them carefully. I do not know if I will be here for you every time, but I do hope that you don’t try to remember every single one of them just for the sake of some measly power.”
I frowned and protested. “It’s not measly power.”
He shook his head. “It is. On my planet this place was, and still is hidden away from the world. The Apex predators were about triple our level. Once we came here, there were a few changes to the nest. Namely a weird structure came to exist on the bottom-most chamber. My point being, no amount of grudges or twisted insanity will be worth it.”
He continued. “Blair, in order to survive and grow stronger one must have the right mind set, perhaps one that is fixated on grudges and resentful is a good one. But when the time comes it will surely cost you your life.” It circled around itself twice and laid on the ground once more. “In the end, longevity is what you seek.”
I took a second to think about it before I agreed with a nod. He is right. I closed my eyes. I cannot get fixated on short-term gains. In the past, not too long ago, I had used a shard of ambition just to cease my advantages, and while it had worked out, it was undeniable that luck was involved. The fact that Five of a Kind existed to begin with was nothing but a coincidence. A deep breath left me, as I felt gratefulness for Sun once more. I was beginning to feel a bit ridiculous, but nonetheless I opened my mouth.
He let out a breath, his eyes still closed. “You’re fine. I understand where you are coming from. I’ve already told you what I seek. I wish to trust you Blair, though I will admit that should you betray me I won’t feel anything. It’s to be expected in this harsh life. Those of Moon have already done it, and if you do it too then it’s on me for misplacing my expectations.”
I felt a pang hit within me. It echoed as I tightened my fist. He was doing this for me simply because of his character, not out of trust… I wanted to be someone he could trust. Though, admittedly that would take some time. I closed my eyes.
“I’ll protect you when I become stronger than you, as if you were just a member of my pack,” I said with resolution. “And I’ll be someone that you can trust.”
I opened my eyes with a sigh. I felt slightly bad about the situation now, perhaps it was the empathy that he had provided, but the realization that it wasn’t done for me and more so because of how he is, made me feel a bit saddened. But also made me hopeful, that maybe at some point he would do the same gesture with the intention of helping me specifically. I shook my head and focused on the things that mattered. The Guardian was laying down with his eyes closed, and I still had my seed in hand, I just had to make it bloom.
I placed my mana onto the seed and tossed it to the ground. Commanding it to sprout made a familiar plant emerge. It was a small red bud that extended rapidly to the size of my hand. Its roots dug into the ground and blue veins pulsed through it. I admired it for a second, I could certainly feel my mana flowing through the plant, though I had no real way to test what it even did to begin with.
I stared at it briefly, I did feel the sense of familiarity with it from my memory, but at the same time it was different. It was a totally different plant. I shook my head and took out more seeds from my ring. I was going to make some arrows with the new kind of plant I had just remembered.
◇ ◇ ◇
About twenty arrows were quickly produced with the help of the okra plant and the Deep Dark tree. And soon, after stowing almost all of the arrows in my ring, I looked at the one within my hand.
[Deep Dark Arrow of Man-Eater Tendrils (Uncommon): An arrow loaded with seeds of the dark plant Man-Eater Tendril, weight heavily distributed towards the tip.]
As far as the usage of the plant went, I simply only understood it would eat things, but I didn’t really understand how or what kind of effect it would have. A small sigh left me as I fiddled with the arrow.
“That is a very interesting calling that you have there. One that makes life? It’s very nice.” Sun commented as he lazily glanced at me, with his red irises.
I shook my head. “It’s one that creates life with the sole purpose of taking it.” I looked towards the Deep Dark tree that was now drying up. “These plants steal vitality from things to gain it themselves. They will consume things before eventually dying—” I paused, perhaps that wasn’t accurate. “Well, that’s how they feel to me. I am sure there is a way for Dark plants to achieve balance, but it is a bit lost on me.”
“Is that so?” He mused. “I think it’s quite a noble calling really, mine just boils my blood. It forces me on rampages and destroys things around me. At least even if yours takes, it also creates. I think that’s neat.”
I nodded slowly. “I suppose that is true, but these plants will take life ultimately.”
“They will. Same goes for those weapons you just made. Ultimately their purpose is to hurt like any other type of calling, but I also think that you can create life. I think it’s possible, just not the way things are right now.” He closed his eyes. “If you were to be able to create life, then it’s not as if these ‘dark plants’ of yours were really dangerous.”
“That’s…” I paused. “True.”
“Anyway, I also think you should go outside and test things out. Your new weapon that is. There is one of Moon drinking water on the lake, so consider that for fun. His level is lower than yours by quite a margin.”
I paused. “Is he alone?”
Sun nodded. “The Guardian of the Full Moon has gone into seclusion once more. Before, it was looking for me, it was looking through the entire nest. But now, he is gone. No longer lurking. He cannot afford to do so.”
I frowned. “Is that why I sensed danger? Also what do you mean by afford?”
“Perhaps that is why you sensed danger, as for your second question. Those of Moon can take in the Moonlight to foster their inner strength, he wants to reach some sort of milestone. I am unsure of it, whoever.”
“Right. Is the Moonfang still outside?”
I nodded and gripped tightly onto my arrow, along with my bow. I was stuck here anyway. I grabbed two more arrows.
Might as well make things fun.
I exited the cave through the rather transparent film. It passed through my body without too much trouble and soon I stood outside once more. The wind rustled through the trees, and a sudden sense of coldness filled me. The outside was relatively quiet, and mana still floated through the air. I looked behind me only to see the unassuming rock wall, but this time I could see a faint outline with light inside. And there, I could see Sun, The Guardian, looking straight at me. He nodded.
I took a deep breath and began to walk towards the shore of the lake, simply advancing forward through the dimly lit place. Moonlight shone through places of the chamber, and as I reached the shore. Not even twenty meters away from me, I saw a Moonfang drinking water. It was unassuming and almost innocent.
[Moonfang. Lvl. 28]
I smiled and nocked all three arrows, I didn’t need to think anymore. I was just testing things, I wanted to see how truly dangerous my first friend was. I wanted to see, watch what things I could do— I felt hopeful for the future, for the things that came. I felt hopeful that I had met Sun. All three arrows within my hand lit up with unnatural green light, the string came next as I drew it in an instant with a creak.
The Moonfang snapped its head towards me but it was too late.
I fired. All three arrows streaked through the air like nothing but small green lines. In an instant, before it could even dodge, the air ruptured and they pierced into the Moonfang. All three were imbued with the power to burrow, and as soon as they hit its chest and head, they just dug.
All three arrows went into its body as it let out an ear-piercing shriek. But that wasn’t all, I could still feel my mana within and as if it was natural, a smile of excitement spread through my face.
I felt the mana shift within the Moonfang itself, and it spread in an instant— it wiggled and took. I felt the mana grow much stronger, and soon with a splatter of blood a small red tendril came out of the Moonfang. Then there was another as it shrieked. Then another. Through its throat, as it went mute. Through its eyes as it went blind. Through its ears as it went deaf. Through every part of its body as it lost its life with pathetic whimpers and convulsing.
The notification came.
[You have killed: (D) Moonfang. Lvl. 28]
[Level up: You have achieved level 32. Prophecy Bonus: +1 WIS +1 VIT]
[You have completed a quest — Ecology Dissection IV (Rare D) Receive Reward?]
[Notice: You still have Skills and Knowledge available.]
I took a deep breath as I stared at the pooling blood at the lake. The shore was stained red, and the body wriggled with tendrils. They touched into the grass and began to eat it as my mana slowly faded away. Once it was done, they began to move around the corpse and wiggle as they tried to move its hulking mass towards the closest thing that was alive.
A few seconds of silence passed as I stared at the tendrils dying. They tried to eat everything around them till their end. I claimed the quest reward, Ecology Dissection IV. Soon, I received all five Shards of Great Ambition. I inspected it and—
Gather a hundred of these—
I shook my head and stowed all of them, they felt very useless right now, and perhaps it was my mood, but just looking at the death the Man-Eating Tendrils had left behind, truly made me not care about the shards of Ambition. They have a normal Feat for a hundred of them, which was fine, but not something I felt particularly thrilled about.
I looked at the shore once more, at the corpse, and finally, at my hands. They were steady, but, in the end. A small part of me sighed. I sort of realized that perhaps my parents weren’t wrong in making it burn it. I shook my head and turned around, heading back towards the cave. As soon as I entered it, Sun grinned at me with its fangs.
“You’ve done well, Blair. Great job.”
“Thank you…” I muttered somewhat awkwardly and headed towards a corner.
I stared at my hands and at my bow. I did still feel excitement for things, for killing and for getting more power. But I also felt hopeful towards being more…
Normal? I was unsure. I just… My head was still messy, but I hoped that I would be able to remember how I felt, and more importantly. Why was it that I felt so detached from everything? Revenge always felt fleeting, and I always felt alone. I felt caged…
I sighed and looked towards Sun. It could wait for now. He could help me… I shook my head as I suppressed the need to rely on him, and simply turned towards the notification. My delusions could wait.
[New Milestone reached — Skills & Knowledge Available]
Though now that I understood the extent of my denial, it was a bit funny to think about who my Patron as a Champion was.