Johan wasn’t paying attention to the tree’s roots as he thought it was still maintaining its focus on Crule who seemed like a bigger threat.
The roots slithered toward him at high speeds. Crule frowned and dash away from the tree, hacking at any pursuing roots.
The Haoma tree was angry enough to start calling on its minions. Various insects started crawling from the surrounding areas and attack Crule.
[Crule]: Johan! Move!
Johan snapped out of his trance to see the current situation. He quickly got on the floor and rolled sideways as a thick root zipped by his head, taking along a few strands of hair.
It was too close for comfort.
Johan stared in fear. If he had acted any slower, his head might have been removed from the rest of his body.
[Crule]: I got the goods, let’s get out. Now!
Crule fought back the horde of insects. They ran away from the giant tree, fighting anything that stopped in front of their escape route.
Corpses of plants and bugs littered the ground where they passed.
The angry roars of the Haoma tree trembled across the forest dungeon.
Crule and Johan barely made it out. The other adventurers were scared out of their wits by the mighty roar.
They all ran outside and was gathered together, awaiting for something like a boss monster to show up.
Crule and Johan quickly ran out of the cave entrance. The other adventurers ignored them and continue to face the cave.
Suddenly, a layer of powerful looking roots blocked the entrance. Several adventurers tried to cut the roots but it was unyielding as metal. Some even tried burning the roots but to no avail, they didn’t get any results.
The adventurers sighed.
[Warrior Adventurer]: Looks like the dungeon is closed for now…
[Female Adventurer]: Did someone beat the boss?
[Archer Adventurer]: No way, the dungeon was barely opened…No one could have reached the boss in such a short time period.
They bickered and argue but there was nothing they could do now. The place was closed off. Looks like their sweet hunting spot is closed. Time to move on.
The people slowly started to return to town to spread the news.
Johan lied on the ground breathing heavily. He didn’t think that he would run several days’ worth of progress in mere minutes. Guess they didn’t travel very far at all considering how cautious they were along the way.
Crule sat on the ground breathing heavily as well. It was a fun experience. If given the chance, he should come and take the Haoma tree out with Ming once she got better.
They rested a while before getting back up and headed to town.
The next day, Johan showed up at the guild hall’s meeting room. He smiled brightly at Crule. The quest is done, reward must be distributed.
Johan slid a large leather bag of coins across the table to Crule.
[Johan]: Thanks for the help man, you really saved my bacon.
[Crule]: No problem, no problem. That’s what friends are for!
[Johan]: Haha, friends indeed!
The two laughed and shook hands.
Crule then decided to ask.
[Crule]: May I ask you a favor?
[Johan]: Anything for a friend.
[Crule]: My fiancé is currently ill. I would like for you to play her a tune with that Haoma guitar you have made.
Johan nodded quickly.
[Johan]: Such a thing! Why didn’t you say so earlier! I would gladly help.
Crule led Johan to the inn room where Ming was resting. The knocked at the door and Chun Qin answered.
[Chun Qin]: Hey, so this is the guy?
Chun Qin’s menacing glared sent shivers down Johan’s spine.
[Crule]: Hey, hey, he’s one of us.
Chun Qin nodded silently. He still didn’t take his eyes off Johan.
Johan laughed awkwardly. He then entered the room and saw the girl in lying in the bed. There seems to be nothing wrong with her other than the fact that she looked like she was asleep.
Chun Qin did a good job at cleaning the wound and treating her. Ming doesn’t even have a scar from the incident.
Johan took out his guitar. It was made from a piece of metal that vibrates at the smallest stimulus. It helps amplify the sounds the Haoma fibers make when he plucks them.
He tuned the guitar and began to play. A powerful ballad, a beautify melody, a strong solo.
Crule and Chun Qin listened carefully to the music. It brought back memories of victory, memories of friendship and trials faced together with friends.
As the song comes to an end, a faint glow appeared on Ming’s forehead as a green shadow seem to fly out. Crule quickly caught sight of it and stabbed it with his dagger. With a shriek, the green shadow fades. It was what remained of the illness inside Ming.
Crule held Ming’s hands.
[Crule]: Ming, you OK?
Ming slowly opened her eyes. She stared at Crule and blinked.
A tear formed.
Ming nearly jumped out of the bed and hugged Crule, crying.
[Ming]: I-I was having a nightmare. I thought I had lost you…I-I…
[Crule]: There, there. I’m here. Everything is Ok now.
They remained embraced for a long time. Johan nodded silently to Chun Qin and left. He had his own ordeal to finish.
Chun Qin also sighed and left the room. Best leave the lovebirds alone. After all, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
Johan reunited with the rest of his band members. He made up an excuse and told them he was taking a short vacation to see his girlfriend.
The band members agreed without any complaints. They had saw how hard Johan had worked over the months.
Johan excitedly left for the borders. After he cross over the Wilderness zone, electronics started working again. He quickly got on an airship to his hometown.
Upon arriving at the hospital, he asked the nurse about Erika. It seemed she was still at the hospital. Her recovery was doing fine. Although her memories are still missing, everything else was functioning just fine.
Johan sighed with relief.
He looked around and saw two men in black suits eyeing him. Goons of that snake…
He walked out to the garden of the hospital. He often stood outside Erika’s window, just looking up at her smile.
Today he had his special guitar with him.
Johan saw Erika stare outside the window, so he decided to start. He closed his eyes and envisioned the song he wanted to play for her.
A love song. A song of longing. A ballad of fond memories. A powerful solo. Everything that he had, he put into that song. Erika stared in awe out her window, lost in memories.
As the song came to a close. Johan opened his eyes again and looked up. Erika was crying.
She opened the window and jumped. It was a good thing she was only on the first floor.
Johan quickly put down the guitar and caught her.
They hugged and kissed.
[Erika]: I remember, I remember now. Oh Johan, where have you been? I missed you so much. I was scared…so scared…
[Johan]: Its ok now Erika. I’m here for you. I love you and I always will.
[Erika]: I love you too.
The audience started clapping. The couples were finally reunited.
From the parking lot, a man wearing a black suit frowned.
[Man]: Humph, it seems my plans were ruined. No matter, if I can’t have her, no one will.
A sinister grin appeared on his face as he pulled out his communicator.