The Strongest Job... Gardener?

by

EsperReal

Chapter 28: While the Monster Sleeps II

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Chris sat or stood he didn’t know, the only thing he knew was  that he was in some weird space.

“What is this place?” [Chris]

Everywhere images flashed and countless voices came from every direction. Chris didn’t know how long he had been in this space, but now he was beginning to understand it.

“These are memories, but not mine.” [Chris]

Chris had come to the conplusion that the images were memories of some other being or beings.

After some time, Chris was able to focus on certain memories and play them like a movie. Slowly the piece came together and when he had finished fitting the scattered clips of memories.

“This is…Excellent.” [Chris]

With a twisted smile, he began to laughter hysterically.

*

It had been another week since Chris fell into a state of hibernation.

Gathering around a large round table sat eight figures.

Claira, Sara, Clows, Glen, Ostan, Mia, Den, and Burdock.

They were talking about the recent developments.

“Another spy was caught yesterday, making five in the past week.” [Den]

One week ago, a cloaked man tried to assassinate Chris, sadly before they could interrogate him the man committed suicide by poison.

Burdock used his intelligent network in the capital to find information. What he found was now the hero’s group had exploded with power. Each one was now an S rank lower realm 1st stage.

Though, Everyone on Chris side had not been just sitting around. Helina, Clows, Ostan, and Mia all had entered S rank as well. While Claira, Sara, Glen, and Lily were still A ranks, still none of them were far from ranking up.

“It would seem that Earl Ginmer is planning to make his move.” [Clows]
“Yes, already several spies had been discovered. “ [Burdock]
“Why can’t we just go and kill the bastard, after all we have ample reason.” [Ostan]

Burdock turned to Ostan, his eyes were clouded, a wry smile on his face.

“Unfortunately, the Earl has a few allies that even I consider dangerous. The only way we could directly attack him would be if we got the backing of another major power like a duke or the capital itself.” [Burdock]

Ostan was about to start arguing when the door burst open.

“Claira (pant), Chris (pant) something happened!” [Helina]
“What do you mean something happened!” [Claira]

Everyone stood from their seats and looked at the winded Helina. Helina had ran at full speed to get to the meeting room, so everyone was anxious.

“I=I don’t know, Chris suddenly, plants everywhere, Chris, he!” [Helina]

Claira quickly moved and grabbed Helina.

“Calm down, now let's go.” [Claira]

Everyone moved as fast as they could. When the group reached Chris’ room, everything seemed normal.

That is until Claira opened the door.

“What the fuck is that.” [Glen]

Where Chris bed should have been was a mass of pulsing green. I looked a lot like a cocoon made of bark, leaves, vines and thorns. Roots and branches extended and burrowed into the walls to keep the green oval stable. Multi-colored veins of light covered the cocoon, they pulsed rhythmic.

“This is!” [Claira]

She had walked up to the pulsing cocoon and placed her hand on it. Pouring mana into her hand, a pulse of white spread over the cocoon

“What is it!?” [Sara]
“This thing is Chris.” [Claira]

Shock stiffened everyone faces, looking blankly at the oversized wooden cocoon.

“How can you be sure?” [Den]
“No, she is correct.” [Mia]

Eyes quickly turned to Mia, not used to being the center of attention she became nervous.

“I can feel Chris’ soul in that thing. I can say for sure that is Chris.” [Mia]

*

“So another failed aye, well no matter.” [Ginmer]

Ginmer was again sitting on his throne listening to the report of the burly man.

“Yes, milord, but this time I have a plan to capture the catalyst.” [Burly Man]

Ginmer stroked his chin, then nodded.

“Very well, now leave.” [Ginmer]

The burly man left the room in a hurry, an evil grin on his face.

Ginmer looked tiredly at the door as it shut. The burly man would not succeed, but it would serve as a good distraction for Ginmer.

“Dadicus.” [Ginmer]

Out of nowhere a man dressed in all black appeared in a kneeling position. He wore a mask that covered his entire face so one couldn’t tell his age or race. If he was standing, he would be 6’1 with his broad shoulders and lean body, along with the blood lust that oozed from his body he was in every way imitating.

“Yes, master.” [Dadicus]

Ginmer stood and walked passed Dadicus down the small flight of stairs. Halfway he stopped and without looking back spoke in an icy tone.

“The catalyst, retrieve it two days before the ritual must take place. I need at least a day to prepare and I don’t want to give Burdock enough time to react.” [Ginmer]

Dadicus stood and turned to face Ginmer then bowed deeply.

“It will be done, master.” [Dadicus]
“And Dadicus” [Ginmer]

Dadicus looked up to puzzlement in his eyes.

“If possible, I want you to capture the vessel of the fragments.” [Ginmer]
“Yes, milord” [Dadicus]

The conversation finished Dadicus turned into a black dust and disintegrated.

Ginmer returned to his throne and slumped down. Closing his eyes, he thought about how close he was to achieving his dream. His life would change to something beyond anyone could believe.

“Soon, I have been patient for four hundred years, I can last a little longer.” [Ginmer]

His mind turned to the thought of the elemental fragments. Even with his strength it would take quite a bit of effort to remove the fragments, the ones that could accomplish this could be counted on one hand.

“If I completely the ritual, then it would be possible to forcefully remove them.” [Ginmer]

As he thought about it, there was only a fifty fifty chance of success. Sighing her opened his eye and made his way to the secret room.

*

“From what I can tell Chris is encased in a manifestation of his own power.” [Den]

Den was studying the cocoon with Claira and Mia.

“What do you think will happen?” [Claira]
“At this point I don’t know, in all my years I haven’t seen anything like this.” [Den]

Suddenly a group of men burst into the room.

“What’s going on?” [Claira]

Mia nervously hid behind Claira while Den seemed relaxed.

“These are my best mages and researchers I brought them here to find out just what is happening to Chris.” [Burdock]

The fat man was standing in the door, a slight frown on his face.

“Now, you three go, let these professionals work.” [Burdock]

Later that day.

The dining hall was alive, the topic was Chris being in the cocoon.

“So, do you think he will come out a beautiful butterfly?” [Glen]

Glen laughed at his own joke only to receive a large bone to the face.

“Don’t even joke about stuff like that, dumbass.” [Helina]

Helina roared her warning to Glen and several people snickered. Helina slammed her fist on the table, her eyes held a dangerous light.

“Ho, do any of you want to tell me what you’re laughing at?” [Helina]

The one who were snickering stopped instantly and sat up straight with sweat forming on their foreheads.

“Helina, calm down I know how you feel, but don’t be violent.” [Claira]

The sweating men all exhaled, with the crisis passed the mood became rather gloomy.

“He will be okay both Mia and I have confirmed there are no problems.” [Claira]

Ostan looked around the room.

“Speaking of my sister, has anyone seen her?” [Ostan]
“Yeah, she wanted to observe the team father brought in, so Mia is most likely in Chris’ room right now.” [Helina]

Ostan stood with a slightly worried face, he made his way to the door.

“I’m going to go check on her.” [Ostan]

When he left Lily sighed and a smile flashed onto her face.

“What a worrywart of a brother.” [Lily]
“Yeah, she will never get to be with a man since Ostan will chase all them off, GUFA!” [Glen]
“Would you cut it out already!” [Helina]

Helina had nailed Glen in the head with another large bone. Claira tried to calm Helina down, before she killed Glen.

When Claira finally managed to calm the raging she-beast down she noticed Sara with a worried expression.

“Sister something is wrong. I feel a sinister presence coming from the direction of Chris’ room” [Sara]

Suddenly a tremor shook the castle and a roar along with a crushing pressure.

The first to react was Helina, in a second she was already at the door.

“Brother, alert father and the guards, it would seem that a fox has made its way into the hen house.” [Helina]

Before anyone could respond another roar followed by a tremor resonated through the castle.

Less than a minute later Helina was rounding the corner to reach the hallway where Chris room was.

“Dammit, are they after Chris again!?” [Helina]

When she turned the corner, Helina came to a complete stop.

In front of her the hallway was destroyed, thousands of fist sized holes covered the walls, floor, and ceiling. The door that led to Chris’ room had been blown of its hinges and shattered into small chunks of wood.

Helina went ran through the hole into Chris room. Inside Ostan lay on the ground in a pool of blood. A black cloaked man was propted up against the wall which had a streak of blood running down it ending at the man.

Helina quickly quickly looked at the cocoon, nothing had changed about.

“Ostan!” [Helina]

She knelt beside him and rolled the man over. His chest and stomach were soaked from a cut that ran from his shoulder to his hip. Luckily he was still breathing though it was shallow he chest still rose and fell.

“What happened, who did this?” [Helina]

Weakly Ostan opened his mouth.

“Ten men, appeared out of nowhere. They took Mia, Then the cocoon shook and a monster beyond nightmares grew from it.” [Ostan]

By then everyone else had arrived. Claira seeing Ostan wounded so heavily wasted no time. Before she even reached him, her hands were covered in a snow like aura. Pressing her hands to his chest the aura flickered and then started to enter the cut.

“Heavenly Snow Channeling!” [Claira]

Instantly the wound on Ostan’s chest glowed the same color as the snowy aura. The next moment the cut began to close.

When the wound closed a few seconds later, Ostan sat up. Helina then asked him to explain what was going on. However, before he could say anything an explosion was heard. Ostan stood weakly and Clows moved to support him.

“I’ll explain as we go, right now Mia’s in danger!” [Ostan]

With arguing the group made their way through the wreckage that filled the halls. Painting and precious items were crushed or scattered everywhere.

Along the way the group found three more bodies of cloaked men, each one brutal tore apart. None fo them had all their limbs, one had his intestins hanging from his mouth, while another had no arms of legs with his eyes bolging out of his head, the last corpse had multiple holes in its chest the terrifying part was that it looked like something had gone down his throat and exited through the holes instead of entering.

“The monster grow from the cocoon as soon as I was stabbed and the cloaked men grabbed Mia. It killed one of them instantly, so the others fled, as you can tell it gave chase.” [Ostan]

Another roar was heard not far away, Helina headed to the sound and entered the ballroom.

“Quickly use fire magic on it that seems to be its weak-GAAAAAH NOOOO” [cloaked man #1]

Several long black whip-like tentacles had pierced the man’s body. The creature responsible was a ten meter wide black sphere, the body that was made countless branches woven together. Hundreds of thin pencil tentacles extended from it body planting themselves in the ground letting the ball of twisted branches stand twenty feet off the ground.

Around the sphere was the remaining six cloaked men circled the monster. The reason was because cradled in several tentacles that formed something like a hammock was Mia. She seemed to have passed out as she lay in the bed of branches peaceful.

The man that had been stabbed by the tentacles screamed as he was lifted closer to the monster. As the man comes closer, the sphere split in two revealing endless rows of sharp teeth.

The man screamed in terror as the monster was about to eat him. Suddenly a massive fireball hit the creature and it roared while being enveloped in a cloud of smoke.

“Ha, take that you fucking monster.” [cloaked man #2]

After a short time, the dust started to clear.

“Oh, shit.” [cloaked man #2]

The monster was unharmed and its mouth was had curled upward to form a smile. A series of guttural noise came from the creature.

“It’s laughing.” [Claira]

Claira was right the monster was laughing, mocking them the men that could not harm it.

The man it still that was on the creature’s tentacles had died from blood loss. The monster throw the body into its mouth, a sickening crunching came from the monster as it chewed the body.

The cloaked men bravely glared at the monster at the same time fear could be seen in the corner of their eyes. Each one was well trained, even though they were afraid, their mission was much more important to them than their lives.

The five remaining men circled the beast, their speed was above an A rank’s but not at the level of an S rank’s. Before the men could attack tentacles completely covered Mia and changed to a sphere shape creating an airtight space with plenty of air.

With Mia safe the mass of wood’s body swelled slightly, opening its mouth blackish green smoke flowed out. The smoke engulfed two of the men, instantly they melted to nothing.

“Shit was that some sort of acid!? Everyone keep your distance, the range of that attack seems short!” [cloaked man #4]

The others nodded in agreement and backed up a little. Sadly that didn’t help at all, the monster again made a series of guttural sounds as vines shot out and pierced two more of the men. With lightning speed, the two stabbed men were devoured by the monster, leaving only one left.

“Dammit, stay back! I-I kill you somehow.” [cloaked man]

The man who working up the courage to at least die fighting, charged. He drew his sword and began to chant a spell, but before he could finished a tentacle smashed against his side sending him sprawling on the ground.

The man slowly got up, a trickle of blood came from his mouth. Again he began to chant something, but again just before he finished the monster slapped him with a tentacle. The process repeated several times, still the man wouldn’t give up since he wasn’t allowed to retreat. If he did then he would be killed anyway and in  a much more painful way.

“That thing is playing with him.” [Sara]
“Yeah, with its power it could have killed him countless times already.” [Lily]

Finally, the man even with only receiving light blows had finally given up, he fell over lifeless.

The monster let out a roar of satisfaction, suddenly it quivered and transformed into hundreds of thousands of leaves. The leaves now in a cloud form surged forwards passing by the group at the ballroom door.

Everyone ducked as the leaves passed, except for Sara.

“relax, we are not its enemy so I doubt it will harm us…I think.” [Sara]

Sure enough as the swarm of black leaves moved around them no one was injured.

“Mia!” [Ostan]

Mia’s body floated on top of a platform made of the black leaves. Her body slowly descended allowing Ostan to safe grab hold of her.

Following the leaves back to Chris’ room, everyone witnessed as the last of the black leaves were absorbed by the cocoon.

No one spoke, silent dominated the room until…

“So who else shit themselves” [Glen]

Both Lily and Helina proceeded to beat the poor bald man.

“(Cough) on a more serious note, what do you think was that?” [Den]
“Could it be he woke up?” [Clows]
“No, from what I can tell his mind is still asleep.” [Claria]

Ostan walked up to the cocoon and placed both hands on it. After a moment, Ostan removed his hands and backed away.

“His soul has changed slightly though it is defiantly Chris, I suspect what we just saw was his new power being subconsciously released in response to the killer intent those men released. What’s more that monster was incomplete, its form seemed unstable to me.” [Ostan]

Everyone looked at each other, “if that was incomplete then what the hell is the complete one going to be like” was what all of them thought. No one knew whether to laugh or cry.

With still three weeks until the festival, a monster slumbered. In one week it would awaken and when it does, the thing will get interesting.
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EsperReal

  • Overlord of the Forest

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