Another pirate bit the dust as he was struck by a multitude of green vines, cracking his bones and rupturing his internal organs. Ian's corner had quickly become a safe haven for the sailors to regroup, as any pirate that stepped within the range of his vines learnt the true meaning of "eat your vegetables".
Ian watched as the battle enfolded around him. A part of the pirate's numbers advantage had been overcome thanks to his help, but they had quickly learnt to stay away from his corner. Ian tsked. His plants' innate lack of mobility lowered their impact on the battle, but he would become surrounded if he tried to carry around the plants in the middle of the fight himself. Ian pushed his plants and walked forwards by a meter - that was the most he could go without opening himself to be flanked.
Right as Ian was starting to feel confident that he would be able to tip the scales of the fight, his eyes widened as he felt a sudden warmth coming from his left. He instinctively dropped flat to the floor just as a ball of fire flew above his head and crashed into the wall behind him. Ian cried out in pain as the fireball exploded, sending scorching embers flying that landed on his back and caused his skin to scream with agony. Looking up, he could tell that he had been lucky - some of the sailors who had taken direct hits now laid charred and unmoving on the ground.
Ian looked around for the source of the attack and quickly found the perpetrators. The two men were not even attempting to remain inconspicuous as they stepped down onto the deck. The first man was dressed in fiery red robes, laughing as sailors screamed and burned at his hand. Ian was unsure what sort of protection the robes possessed, but the Fire Mage seemed completely sure in his own safety as he continued to recklessly incinerate his opponents.
The Fire Mage’s confidence was probably due to the presence of the man in front of him. Covered from head to toe with armor and carrying a huge tower shield, the man was impervious to any attacks the mercenaries were throwing at him. His mouth was set in a hard line, and his eyes showed no reaction to the deaths around him. Ian could not tell what class this man possessed, but either way his presence made approaching the Fire Mage near impossible.
This was not a good matchup for his plants, Ian realized. So far, all of his opponents were lightly armored and focused more on speed than defense, allowing him to surprise them with hard hitting blows that were guaranteed to be fatal. This would not be the case here – Ian would bet anything that the armoured man had a significantly higher STR than DEX, increasing his health and making him nigh impossible to kill. The Fire Mage also posed a significant threat, much higher than the Mind Mage that he had faced before. While the Mind Mage would have proved fatal to normal opponents, Ian’s skillset was a huge counter to the Mind Mage’s illusions due to his fighting power resting in his plants and not himself. Meanwhile, the Fire Mage’s elemental advantage over Ian would mean that he would be fighting an upwards battle from this point forth. These two were significantly stronger than the rest of the pirates, and Ian wondered why they had waited until the battle was half done to join in.
As soon as the duo stepped onto the deck, they started towards Ian’s setup. Stopping right outside the range of his vines, the Fire Mage spoke.
“Kekekeke, what is a Plant Mage doing so far out in the water? You should have known better than to leave your dirt.” The Fire Mage’s tone was condescending as he looked at Ian’s plants with disdain.
“What do you want?” Ian asked. “We don’t have to fight.” He desperately hoped that there was a way out of this mess – if he had known that these two were coming then he would have probably stayed in his room.
“Yes, I agree that we don’t.”
Ian let out a sigh of relief. Maybe he could negotiate with the pirates and somehow escape back to land.
“But I want to anyways! Kekekeke!” The Fire Mage’s insane laughter filled the air.
There seemed to be no reasoning with the Fire Mage, who appeared to have gone off the deep end long ago. Ian started looking around for potential escape paths, noting the presence of a staircase to the upper deck ten meters to his right.
“Kekekeke here I come!” Fireballs simultaneously sprung up in both of the Fire Mage’s hands. “I can’t wait to watch you burn!”
Ian was not about to let this Fire Mage land the first strike. “Ezra, Sartonius, Zen, Pea Shot!” So far in this battle Ian had been saving this ability in order to maintain the element of surprise in case a strong opponent appeared, and now was the time to use it.
The vines of all three plants whirled into action, forming gun barrels of pea pods and simultaneously firing. A barrage of peas flew towards the Fire Mage, more than enough to reduce his body to a pulp if they had connected.
Instead of what Ian had been hoping to see, the armored man quickly sidestepped in front of his companion and raised his tower shield. The noise of the barrage of peas striking the shield was thunderous, and it easily drowned out the cries of pain and blades clashing from the rest of the deck. Though this was probably the strongest attack Ian had ever put out, the shield remained firm with only several small dents appearing. The Fire Mage popped his head out from behind the shield once the attack was done, and he did not look happy.
“I guess I should’ve eaten more Magical Peas,” Ian muttered to himself. He was in deeper trouble than he had imagined. “Lenessa give me strength.”
Two Fireballs blazed through the air towards Ian. Jumping to the side, Ian grunted as he landed on the ground with a thud, narrowly dodging a fiery death. His three Pea Plants kept attacking with a combination of Vine Whip and Pea Shot, but the armored man blocked all the attacks with his shield.
“Kekekeke your attacks are useless, Plant Mage! You should know better than anyone that your weak plants have no chance of damaging my Guardian!”
Ian cursed. The Guardian class was one of the the strongest Tier 3 classes when it came to pure defense, and excelled in defending high priority targets such as mages. The duo had formed a textbook combination that would be almost impossible to beat. Ian ducked his head as another Fireball flew towards his face, scorching his hair but still missing its target.
“There’s no use in running! You might be able to dodge, but what about your plants! Kekeke!”
Ian watched in horror as the Fire Mage turned his attention towards his Magical Pea plants, engulfing each one with a barrage of Fireballs. As the flames persisted, Ian saw that his Magical Plants were burnt but still standing.
“Impossible! How can a mere plant withstand my flames?” The Fire Mage seemed even more enraged at this site. “Fireball!”
The Fire Mage was now in a frenzy, attacking the plants with abandon. How much mana did this mage have? No matter what, Ian’s plants wouldn’t be able to withstand the attacks much longer. Grabbing a vine from each plant, Ian quickly recalled his plants to his Magical Farm and made a run for it.
Dashing towards the staircase on the right, Ian ran like he’d never ran before, dodging and weaving to avoid the Fireballs flying above his shoulders. The assault did not last long; Ian turned his head and saw the Fire Mage and Guardian in pursuit. The Fire Mage must be trying to conserve his mana until he had a more certain shot, Ian concluded.
Ian’s only advantage was that the Guardian could not run very fast due to the high weight of his armor and shield and the Fire Mage was reluctant to leave the side of his protector. Thus, he had some time to catch his breath while he waited for them to climb the stairs. Ian pulled out his plants again and lamented at their sorry states.
Ian quickly checked his status.
|Farming (PASSIVE)||8 (12.3%)|
|Manual Labor (PASSIVE)||1 (89.2%)|
|Magical Gardening (PASSIVE)||1 (11.3%)|
|Magic Plant Digestion (PASSIVE)||1 (35.9%)|
|Magical Botany||2 (95.6%)|
|Magical Farm||1 (12.7%)|
Ian had taken a bit of splash damage from the Fireballs, but his health was still at an acceptable level. Looking at his full mana, he realized that unlike the Fire Mage he hadn’t used a single active skill during the fight. Ian took some time and spammed Magical Botany on all three of his plants. Some of the burnt vines recovered, and the plants seemed to recover some of their vitality.
By the time Ian had used up half of his mana, the Fire Mage and Guardian had finished climbing the stairs and caught up. There was nowhere else to run – the only staircase was blocked by the duo, and behind Ian was the helm of the ship. He’d have to make his final stand here.
“Kekeke nowhere left to run now, huh? For all the running you made me do, I’ll make sure to give you a slow death.”
The Guardian slowly advanced, forcing Ian back while the Fire Mage stuck closely to his back. Ian desperately attacked with Vine Whip and Pea Shot to no avail, and was forced to continuously drag his pots back while casting Magical Botany to keep his plants alive. Although the Guardian had mostly acted in defense so far, Ian knew that if he got too close a shield bash to the face would be as equally deadly as any spell that the Fire Mage could throw.
There was not much space left for Ian to back up, so it was time for some more desperate maneuvers. The Guardian’s tower shield provided an absolute defense, but it could only defend in one direction. Grunting, Ian picked up Zen’s pot and threw it forwards and to the right as far as possible. The pot flew in the air and shattered on impact sending dirt spilling everywhere, but Zen stood tall. Ian now had attackers on either side of the Guardian.
Ian’s gamble paid off, and the pressure was now placed on the Fire Mage and Guardian. However, the two clearly had years of experience fighting with each other and knew how to deal with two pronged attacks. The Guardian immediately swung himself and the Fire Mage to the left so that they were perpendicular to Ian’s plants, raising his shield so that he could simultaneously block the attacks from both directions. Meanwhile, the Fire Mage got to work on the isolated plant.
“Dragon’s Breath!” A giant plume of flame burst out of the Fire Mage’s mouth towards Zen, engulfing the newly evolved Magical Pea plant in a constant stream of fire for over ten seconds. When the Fire Mage was done, Zen had been burnt to a crisp.
Ian swore as the Fire Mage pulled a mana potion from beneath his robes and chugged it. Ian had just lost a third of his firepower, while the Fire Mage would regenerate his mana and the Guardian had barely received a scratch. Throwing Zen had seemed like a good plan in Ian’s head, but now it was backfiring.
Ian was now forced to keep retreating until his back hit the railings at the helm of the ship. Below him lay the waters of the Goht Sea, turbulent and frothy white as the waves crashed again the ship’s hull. Ian gulped – he had never learnt how to swim.
“Kekeke you put up a good fight for a Plant Mage, but it ends here. Die!”
As the Guardian pushed forwards and Fireballs flew at Ian’s face, he only had one place left to go. He pulled Sartonius back into his Magical Farm and grabbed Ezra’s pot as tightly as humanly possible, taking a deep breath to steel his nerves. This was possibly one of the most reckless things Ian had ever done, but he didn’t have any other options left to pursue.
Ian jumped, and he and his Magical Plant disappeared from the deck of the ship.