The Church of Lenessa taught that after death, your soul would be guided by Lenessa to its proper resting place. Those that lived righteous lives would enjoy an eternity of enjoyment and relaxation in heaven, while those who sinned would first need to be cleansed through the fires of purgatory. Of course, different branches of the faith believed in separate variations of the afterlife, but in none of them would one’s soul remain on Lenessia. It was for this reason that Elise so confused as she watched the wolves devour her body limb by limb.

After using Mother’s Sacrifice ability, Elise had felt her soul start to tug away from her body. She had expected to be whisked away to the afterlife, but she had instead stopped and remained a few feet in the air. Inspecting her new form, she still looked the same with the only difference being that she was now slightly transparent. Willing her spirit to move, she watched as her spirit drifted closer to the wolves, waving her hands and shouting to see if they could notice her. From their lack of reaction, Elise guessed that they couldn’t. As a Priestess of Izenia, Elise had dedicated her adult life to maintaining Izenia’s values. Between her contributions towards local orphanages and her final sacrifice, Elise had taken solace in her final moments that she would be going to heaven. The fact that she hadn’t threw her off – had she done anything wrong? She couldn’t remember if she had, but even then she should have been sent to purgatory. There had to be some other reason why her spirit was still here.

Elise was tempted to drift back to Izen and see if the rest of her party had made it back safely. She wanted above all to reassure them that her death was not their fault. She knew that Marco, the man who had been carrying her, would feel especially responsible for her demise, but it was ultimately her decision and she didn’t want them to be burdened with guilt. Realistically, she knew that they would probably be unable to see her as well – there was a reason why ghosts were only heard of in folk tales and never seen in real life. However, as Elise watched the wolves finish eating and start heading back towards their den, she knew that there something important that only she could confirm, something that she could still do. Promising to herself that she’d visit Izen afterwards, Elise started drifting behind the wolves, following the trail of black energy they left behind. She would find out what had caused the wolves to grow so strong, even if it cost her soul.

Days blended together as Elise trailed the wolves for a bit less than a week, but the wolves still showed no signs of stopping. They had passed the wolves’ lair days ago, but Elise could see that the density of the wolves’ black energy gradually increased as they continued forwards. Clasping her hands together, Elise murmured another prayer to Izenia. She had always thought of herself as a strong woman, but even she was scared of approaching the source of the dark power.

Twenty minutes later, the wolves started to slow down. Looking forwards, Elise could see a thick line of trees, but beyond that her view was blocked by a black fog. She watched as the wolves ambled through the wall, disappearing into the forest, and took a deep breath as she too plunged inside. The sight that greeted her would have scared her to death if she had still been alive.

The pack of wolves was still there, but they weren’t alone. Just beyond the initial line of trees was a large clearing brimming with all the monsters native to the Izenia region. Trolls and goblins polished their clubs next to each other, while minotaurs patrolled around the outskirts. Manticores and harpies, rare species that would usually only be found in mountains and caves, were idly resting in the open forest clearing. Elise couldn’t help but gasp – monsters usually never got along outside of their territory and species, and even then she had never heard of a group this large. If all of these monsters were as strong as the dark wolves that were capable of nearly wiping out her party, a horde of this size could easily destroy Izenia.

Elise continued looking around the clearing, finally spotting a hooded man in the center of the clearing presiding over a pedestal with a black orb on top. Elise watched as he beckoned the wolves towards him, reaching his hands towards them as strands of black energy left the wolves and entered the orb. The orb grew even darker, and Elise could feel the ominous aura in the clearing grow even stronger. Suddenly, the man snapped his head up and looked directly at Elise, his crazed eyes sending a chill down her ethereal spine.

“Why have you come, Agent of the Betrayer? You will suffer!”

The previously calm clearing burst into frenzy, with claws, clubs, and poisonous spikes flying towards Elise’s location. Raising her arms in defense, Elise watched as the attacks passed through her body leaving no signs of visible damage. The robed man was enraged, shrieking and grasping the black orb. Black smoke rapidly exited the orb, and within ten seconds the smoke had congregated into three scythed reapers. Elise had a feeling that the attack of these reapers would be a lot more deadly, and immediately started floating away as quickly as possible, reaching an impressive velocity.

Elise burst through the tree line and exited the black miasma with the trio of reapers hot on her tail, her mind was in a panic, impairing her sense of direction. She had intended to run back to the safety of Izenia’s cathedral where she hoped the holy energy would be able to repel the reapers, but she was heading too far east to reach the city. Instead, she was heading away from the Dromas River towards a stretch of abandoned farmland that nobody had inhabited for years. However, Elise had no way of knowing this as she desperately ran for her life.

The plot of land Ian had bought had been vacant due to its poor location. Three days travel away from the city, the land was also too far from the Dromas River to benefit from its fertility. The soil quality was poor, and almost nobody frequented the adjacent roads. Due to its isolation, average farmers would fear monster attacks and struggle with transportation. All these factors that would make regular farmers think twice made this plot perfect for Ian.

After gathering supplies and enough rations to last a few months, Ian had used up a majority of the money he had gathered. While Midas’ purse had been full of gold and silver, Ian saw no point in saving it and had used it to purchase as many resources as possible. Not all of his purchases would fit inside his Magical Farm, so he had hired a caravan to help bring him and his stuff to his new land. The dried and preserved foodstuffs Ian purchased had filled a wagon by themselves. After spending a night in a mid-class inn, Ian was off to his new farm.

The trip to the farm was uneventful. Like the trip to Brenas, Ian sat at the back of the wagon and made the best of his time by casting Magical Botany on Ezra and Sartonius, entrusting the wagon’s safety to the two mercenaries walking alongside him. While hiring the mercenaries had resulted in another dip in Ian’s resources, it was standard procedure in the Kingdom of Lubiel due to the presence of monsters meaning merchants would refuse to travel without them. Three days later, the caravan leader dropped Ian and his stuff off and quickly left. The leader had no idea why this young man would want to live in the middle of nowhere and it was none of his business, but he’d be damned if he stayed there any longer than necessary. That would just be asking to be attacked.

Inspecting his land, Ian saw the farmhouse that the land agent had mentioned. Smaller than the agent had described, its size made it more qualified to be called a shack instead of a house, but it was enough for Ian to live in by himself. Ian set aside the pile of supplies sitting by the side of the road and got to work. The first thing he did was pull Ezra and Sartonius out of his Magical Farm and place them by his side – if there was one thing the past few weeks had taught him, it was to always be prepared for an attack. Next, he found a patch of relatively dark soil, pulled out a hoe and started preparing the land for seeds. Ian’s objective in buying this farm was not to grow food to sell in the city like most farmers, but to raise his next generation of Magical Plants. After hoeing a small area he deemed it to be enough and put down his hoe. Ian checked his status.

Name Ian Age 18
Class Magical Botanist
HP 105 MP 131
STR 110 DEX 109
INT 194 WIS 121
Farming (PASSIVE) 8 (56.3%)
Manual Labor (PASSIVE) 1 (93.2%)
Magical Gardening (PASSIVE) 1 (14.4%)
Magic Plant Digestion (PASSIVE) 1 (43.9%)
Magical Botany 2 (99.9%)
Magical Crossbreeding 1
Magical Farm 1 (14.7%)

Ian retrieved his seed bags from his Magical Farm and laid them out before him. Some of them he had brought from his family farm and others he had just purchased in Izen. There were a lot of different plant species for Ian to choose from, but his selection criteria wasn’t based on normal factors such as nutritional value and growth speed, but which plant would be able to assist Ian in defense once it evolved into a Magical Plant. Ian spent a few minutes imagining the mature versions of each species and what sorts of abilities they could possess.His INT had continued to increase from consuming Magical Peas but the growth rate had significantly reduced. While disappointed, Ian was happy that he could now eat regular foods without feeling guilty for missing stat gains. His other stats had remained the same, but Ian knew that he especially needed to raise his STR as it would help increase his health and physical abilities. His skills had also continued to grow in level, but Magical Botany had been stuck at 99.9% for two days now, no matter how many times he continued to cast it. Ian wasn’t too sure why exactly this had happened, but from his general knowledge he knew that this meant he had to fulfill some sort of condition before the skill would level up. Unfortunately, this condition was something that was normally taught from teacher to apprentice, a relationship Ian did not have the luxury of enjoying. He would just have to try a variety of things before meeting this unknown requirement. 

Ian had no clue which plants were of each attribute, but he assumed that if he was searching for a defensive plant he should choose one that possessed natural defense mechanisms. Putting the rest of the seed bags back, Ian was left with an assortment of squash and pumpkin varieties. Their hard fruits seemed indicative of a STR nature, so Ian would try his hand at growing these first. Grabbing a squash seed bag, Ian opened it and started planting. He had enough time to grow a few different plants to test his powers more thoroughly, Ian thought. There was no way that he’d have to fight for his life again in this remote farm, right?

A note from alphabet

I'm back from the dead just like Elise <img src= Exams are over so regular release schedule will resume. Thanks for understanding!

About the author


Bio: Thank Mr Goose ... if you get the reference hit me up

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