There was a total of 7 kinds of magical plants in the cavern. 5 types of mushrooms, and 2 types of herbs. One of the herbs was bearing a bunch of pristine white berries with black spots. The other looked like some kind of bioluminescent cave grass glowing a pale blue.
Of the mushrooms, 4 of them looked like enoki or beech mushrooms. They were growing in clumps out of the cracks in the wall. Most of them looked normal if you ignored the faint halo they were giving off.
And then there was the purple abomination that looked like a giant king trumpet mushroom. It gave of an eerie purple glow.
Eliot could have sworn there was a skull made out purple aura floating above the mushroom, laughing like a grim reaper.
‘A spotted winter berry plant with 11 berries and patches lesser aura grass both at rank 4. Not sure about the mushrooms growing on the wall but they are definitely at least rank 3. As for the big one…’, Eliot pondered. He had already decided to horde the riches for himself and his tiny friend. Therefore, there was no use hesitating. He was better off using that brainpower into thinking up a plan.
‘It’s definitely a rank 4. I’ve never seen this type of mushroom before. Not to mention that eerie purple aura. Is it poisonous?’, Eliot was thinking of using these magical herbs to boost his own power.
Right now, he was a J-rank adventurer. He had been stuck in this rank for 4 years now. And the fact was that J-rank was the lowest designated rank for Adventurers.
As he was lost in his thoughts, a green flash of light flew forward towards the purple mushroom.
“Wha- Sugaratte wait, I don’t know what kind of mushroom that is. It could be-“, but before he could finish his warning, a pleasant giggle sounded out from the green flash.
“Wow! A Violet Mother’s Joy! What’s a rare thing like this doing here?”, Sugarette exclaimed with pleasant surprise. From the looks of it, she knew what it was.
“… … You know of it?”, Eliot asked.
“Well duh~ I was a goddess of the land I’ll have you know! I know a lot of things.”, Sugarette replied as she pumped out her chest with pride.
“… And what’s the real reason?”, Eliot would have none of it. They have been together for 15 years now and if Sugarette was the type to know stuff he would have been aware.
“….Umm… I sneaked into the E-rank section of the guild hall a few days ago to play. There was a quest to look for a Violet Mother’s Joy. It had a picture and description…”, Her ploy seen through, Sugarette was visibly embarrassed.
“But it’s not my fault! The low rank section of the guild has nothing! It’s so boring! All the quests a sewer cleanup this, herb gathering that!”, She desperately tried to defend herself.
“…*sighs*… I know. But what if someone finds you. That place is full of weird and strong people.” Eliot knew the real reason she went there was help him scout for information not disclosed to those of the lower ranks.
“…I’m sorry.”, Sugarette further deflated.
“But hey, it’s okay. And look at the bright side, now we know what this thing is. And that’s all thanks to you.”, Eliot tried to cheer her up. The past is the past. The important thing was how they would use that knowledge in the future.
“Yay~ That’s right! It’s all according to my plans! I knew Eliot would understand.”, Her mood better, Sugarette beamed up with joy.
‘I guess getting her to learn from her mistakes is a fool’s errand’, a bit exasperated and a bit glad, Eliot continued,
“So, what is this? You said it was a Violet Mother’s Joy. What grade is it?”
“Uhh… The poster said, erm, it was an innate grade 5 magical plant. And, uhh, that it helps other plants grow? I didn’t see any alchemical uses. Oh! And the reward money for it was 180 gold coins!”, Sugarette tried her hardest to remember what she saw. Considering she sometimes showed symptoms of both short and long-term memory loss, it was a great endeavor for her.
“Whoa, 180 gold!!! As expected of a grade 5 herb. That’s enough money to live for years in luxury, and then some. Good job Sugarette.”, Eliot thought it was fine to praise her once in a while.
“Tut-tut, as long as you know. I was once a great goddess, stuff like this is too easy”, but maybe he praised her too soon.
“Do you remember anything else?”, Eliot asked, hoping for more information.
“Uh…. No?”, Sugarette replied.
“… Why are you asking me?”, Eliot wondered how someone like her could be so dumb sometimes. She was at least a thousand times older than him but acted like 9-year-old.
But the information she provided was valuable nonetheless. 180 golds for just one of these. Considering the average grade 3 herb goes for 1 gold and grade 4 for 10, he could make at least 50 gold for the berries and 30 for the patches of lesser aura grass if he could sell them all off. That’s a grand total of 310 gold coins.
But he couldn’t, he was just a J-ranker. J-rankers couldn’t accept E-rank quests. So even if he handed them all over to the guild, he would at most get 30 gold in total. A mere cut of the original 310 gold.
Alternatively, he could partner up with an E-rank adventurer or adventurer party for share of the rewards. But why would E-rankers ever take J-rankers seriously? He wasn’t someone with connections nor was he a particularly talented J-ranker. The best-case scenario he would be told to fuck off and they would cash in the rewards all for themselves. Worst case? He would unfortunately go ‘missing’ after accepting a hard quest. Nothing that never happens in this grim world.
No, he had to horde all of these for himself.
Even without crafting them into potions or elixirs, he could propel himself to an I-ranker by directly ingesting them. Latest it would take would be 2-3 months.
Although there were potions on the market going for as little as 100 gold for similar applications. It seemed like a waste to directly take them. Efficiency wise, if he could utilize them at minimum 70%, they could do much more then just pushing him up a rank.
Not to mention, he still didn’t know if the enoki-like mushrooms growing on the wall were safe to eat raw or untreated. He could capture a wild animal to test them out but the chamber only had so many of mushrooms. It would be such a waste to do that.
“Hmm… Wait a minute!”, Eliot suddenly exclaimed. “What did you say the big one was used for?”
“Wah! Don’t yell so suddenly. You scared me. They were... uhh… they help other plants grow. The poster said it helped concentrate some type of mana around the area where it grew that was helpful for other plants. It was, erm, like a natural occurring plant growth spell. It could make plants around it grow multiple times faster? Maybe?”, Sugarette still had some trouble recalling every detail. But what she could was more than enough.
“Yes! Then this could work. Sugarette, I have an idea.”, Eliot suddenly took out a leather pouch from his sack and starting plucking the berries.
“Idea! What idea! Tell me tell me tell me!”, Sugarette nagged cheerfully.
“It’s too risky to leave with all of these at once. So, for now I’ll just take a few of the spotted winter berries and the lesser aura grass and sell them. Even if I can’t get the full amount, I should be able to get at least 20 gold for half of what’s here.”, Eliot didn’t pick all of the berries. Of the 11, he only took 5. Then he walked to where the lesser aura grass was.
“As for these mushrooms, I still don’t know what properties they have. Even if I did, it would probably be bad for my body if I ate them all at once.”, Eliot continued.
“That’s why for now we leave them here and cover the exit with <<Lesser Earth Molding>>”, others always said that the spells he got from his spirit bond with Sugarette were useless in battle or utility. Plant and earth-based magic, whether spirit or orthodox were both highly regarded in battles. But all Eliot got were the <<Lesser>> kind.
Nevertheless, it would be enough for what he wanted to do now.
Eliot recited the chant for the spell after leaving the chamber with the berries and the grass. As he did so the earth around the opening slowly started to close. <<Lesser Earth Molding>> was a ‘Lesser’ spell meant for those with Low Talent Grading in magic. So, this would take a while.
“And? And? What’s next? Don’t stop in the middle of explaining!”, Sugarette complained anxiously as she waited for the rest of the plan to be explained.
“Sorry, I was just concentrating on the spell.”, Eliot said as he wiped off the sweat on his forehead. Even if it was a lesser spell, for a J-ranker like him it was more than hard enough. “10 gold should be enough to lease a house with a small plot of land in one of the villages around the city. The further the village, the cheaper it should be.”
“Umm… Master? Are you planning on leaving Ezora?”, the ex-goddess asked.
“Yes. I want to relocate this whole chamber to somewhere else.”, Eliot was taking a risk by trying to horde all the magical plants by himself. But that didn’t mean he should constantly put himself in a risky position.
The frontier villages were perilous. Far more then even the city of Ezora which bordered the Enchanted Forest of Ezorael.
But the danger he would face here would be from other sapients. Cunning humans and scheming demis. The danger from the frontier came from lesser intelligent monsters. Vicious and bloodthirsty they might be, Eliot knew he would be far safer there than here.
“B-But didn’t you say you wanted to grow in rank here by delving into the enchanted forest? We’ve been here for so long, are we really moving away?”, Sugarette seemed a little down at the idea. But Eliot knew she would ultimately follow his plans.
“I’m sorry. But that’s because I was after the materials I could find in the forest to make us stronger. Right now, we found a more consistent alternative than dungeon delving. Yes, getting them out of here with all the rats and goons sniffing around will be tricky. But if we can do this, we can jumpstart out plan to get back your divinity years earlier! If I can utilize these with the help of you and the Violet Mother’s Joy, I can make it to rank E in maybe 10 years! Even earlier than that if we can make use of what the frontier has to offer.”
“Uwuuu…. But I’m going to miss the people at the adventurer’s guild you know. And what about everyone at the orphanage?”, Sugarette might be a thousand-year-old former goddess, but her mind was still that of a child’s.
Eliot wanted to rub her head. But his hand passed right through her. Sugarette was a little surprised at the gesture. But then beamed a brilliant smile and said,
“Humph! Can’t be helped! If Eliot says so then we’ll go to a frontier village and get super strong and beat the bad monsters and get super strong too! And this time I’ll be the only one with Master so people like that vixen won’t try to take master away from me.”, It seems she realized Eliot would miss the people at the guild, the better lot, maybe even more than her. Not to mention the orphanage. Even though they were the ones who forced her lovely master out in the first place.
‘It’s up to me, this charming former goddess to cheer up master when he’s sad!’, Sugarette thought to herself. She was so into her monologue that she didn’t even realize she said ‘super strong’ twice.
“Yeah, that’s my goddess.”, Meanwhile, Eliot was done closing up the entrance. He was careful to leave sponge like openings for a makeshift airway. This took finer control, that’s why the job took so much effort to complete.
“But first we’ll have to go back to Ezora. I’ll explain the rest of my plans on the way via mental link. Can you scout out the way to see if there are any people or monsters left? Wouldn’t want to bump into anyone.” After double checking the closed entrance one more time, Eliot carefully put the pouches containing the herbs and berries back into his sack.
“Aye aye capitan!”, saying that, Sugarette flew off. Her glow might be noticeable to Eliot but that’s because they were bonded. Other people or monster couldn’t easily see or sense her. Eliot knew for a fact that even E-rankers couldn’t.
‘Now… What to do what to do… I should save at least 10 gold for the frontier. The other 10 gold, I need to put into good use.’, While pondering, Eliot followed the trails left behind by Sugarette.