“Hehe… Kid I’m over a thousand years old, and that’s only when you count the time when I was alive…” With a cute giggle the little girl spouted something utterly ridiculous. “And don’t even ask how long I’ve been trapped within this world seed fragment. It’s been so long now I stopped keeping track somewhere after the third millennia…”
I just stared at the girl for a moment as my mind tried to process that. “So my being 22…?”
“Laughably insignificant compared to my own age…”
I looked over the giggling apparently thousand year old girl who looked like a teenager and considered the likelihood of her just lying to my face about this. For a while I was half convinced that she was, but then I remembered that I was summoned into a new world were magic and monsters were a thing, I was a floating formless shapeshifting blob that made multicolored clouds to move faster, and this whole conversation was happening in a meadow that I had found inside myself. After considering all that I decided it was better to just take the redhead at her word and maybe stop trying to rationalize things I encounter in this weird magical world with the logic of my old world.
“Well I gotta say you look great for your age…” I said awkwardly as I tried to tell the stubborn part of my brain that still thought she couldn’t possibly be older than 17 to shut up and go to its shame corner.
“Thank you, it’s one of the better benefits of having a body made from mana. Anyway I have a lot to try to explain to you and not very much time to do it, so let’s get right into it.” With a sigh the girl looked down before suddenly clapping her hands and looking up with a strange smile.
“Explanations, great! I love me some explanations! Let’s start with where we are, who you are, and what I am…” I practically shouted at the chance to finally figure a few things out. I had been working totally in the dark so far in this new world with only some general knowledge gifted to me by a dead man to keep me from being absolutely ignorant of the world, and now here was a bright shining light offering to guide my way. I didn’t even bother to consider whether or not this girl would know the answers to my questions or if she would tell the truth, instead I just pounced on the opportunity to get answers right when I heard the word “explanations” leave her pretty mouth.
“Well, I guess names are a good enough place to start as any.” The girl thought with her finger tapping lightly against her cherry colored lips. “Hmm… I guess you can call me Gardener, and you are?”
“Ark, like the boat from the bible. I was born surrounded by animals and my parents had a very strange sense of humor…”
“Hmm, no last name… So you aren’t a noble then?”
It only took me half a second to look back at all the fiction I had read, games I had played, and things I had watched before I made my decision. “Um no, I have a last name…” I paused as I thought back on all the times that the last name Lovhert had put me as the butt end of jokes and all the times I wished I could change it. “It’s…” Come on Ark! Think! What’s a cool last name that would make sense for a fantasy world!? Blackheart? No to edgy and emo, it sounds more like a cry for attention than a last name… Maybe keep things simple, how about Stone. Huh, Ark Stone… No that just sounds strange… Hmm… Oh, come on I just need a name, commoners always get treated like shit in stories like this so I need to at least have a decent noble sounding last name! Wait, I got! “…Pendragon. I’m Ark Pendragon.” Sorry Arthur, I need the name more than you do right now with you being dead and all… let’s hope no one else in this world has ever been to or heard legends from Earth…
For a moment the girl just looked at me. “Alright then, though I would advise that in the future when you give someone a false name you don’t pause in the middle of speaking to come up with said name…” She sighed in a dramatic manner before waving her hand, as she waved her hand the whole meadow scenery changed to that of a dense forest full of large lush trees that blocked out the sunlight except for some small patches. As I stared around utterly dumbfounded at what had just happened Gardener brushed out her skirt and sat down on an impossibly clean and chair shaped tree stump. “Well “Ark Pendragon” we are in the space created by a fragment of a world seed. You can come to and stay in this place whenever and however long you wish, unfortunately I don’t have that luxury. I probably only have a day or two left before I’m gone forever…”
“Wait what? Hold up, you’re only going to be around for a day!?” I refocused on the girl after hearing those words.
“I might last two, maybe even three if I’m lucky, but more than likely I will only be around for one day, yes…”
“Why!?” I practically shouted as I saw my greatest shot at getting answers suddenly grow a countdown timer.
“It’s simple really, I’m a mere sliver of consciousness that was left behind by the previous owner of this world seed fragment. I’ve only existed this long because I’ve been dormant, waiting for the next owner to appear so that I could assess whether or not they were worthy of this fragment of the world seed’s power and guide them if they are.” Gardener sighed and looked a little lost for a moment. “Sadly the first part of my duty is now obsolete, you didn’t merely merge with or absorb the world seed fragment instead your soul consumed the seed in its entirety. I can’t fight your claim to this world seed when the seed has already been consumed by your soul, so for better or for worse this world seed fragment belongs to you now and when your soul ceases to be so too will this fragment of the world seed likely cease to be. Instead I can merely guide you so that you don’t destroy Eden or the fragment in your ignorance, how you use this fragment of the world seed is now no longer my concern…”
“Oh…” I wasn’t sure what to say, I mean what do you say when you take away half a person’s reason for existing.
Gardener’s head suddenly bowed down as she spoke solemnly. “Though I do have a request, I would wish for you not to use the powers of this world seed fragment to harm my people…”
“Your people?” I asked cautiously.
“Yes… My people, the elves…”
“So what you’re saying is that this place is like a paradise world where I control time and space?” I asked still in disbelief.
“Yes, though as I said you can also control what’s formed or brought inside the garden to varying degrees…” Gardener was nodding and looking at me patiently.
“And I can grow this place with materials from Eden?”
“Yes, materials from outside the sealed dimension this garden can be brought into the garden to grow the garden in any multitude of ways. For example when was alive I could only grow vast amounts of plants from seeds I brought into the garden, with one seed I could grow hundreds of plants in merely a month’s time.” Gardener smiled as she recalled a past memory.
“And what was that about the mana concentration in this place again?”
“It’s around 100 times more concentrated in the garden than it is outside in Eden, though that is only true when considering the normal areas of Eden.”
“And that amount of mana concentration can grow?”
“Well, I was never able to do so, but it should be possible to improve the garden's mana concentration.”
For a moment I just floated as I tried to suppress the evil laughter that was threatening to break out. I always thought it was cliché how anyone sent to a fantasy type world in stories got some sort of overpowered ability or weapon, but now that I was in that situation I realized I was beyond grateful that I wasn’t the one to break that cliché. I couldn’t even imagine my surviving in a world of monsters like Eden without some sort of power or ability to rely on, and now I had one and sort of understood how I could use it. “So if I wanted to raise say… an army of loyal monster minions, that would actually be possible?”
Gardener just looked at me for a while, her pretty rose colored eyes were squinting at me suspiciously. “Yes that should be possible if you can bring enough monsters into the garden, but are you seriously planning to abuse the dominance authority effect of the garden to do that?”
“…No…” Uh, hell yeah I plan to! There are apparently things out there in Eden that can literally eat souls, I’m not going to feel any sort of safe unless I have monsters or magic backing me up! And since I apparently can’t use magic…
Gardener just shook her head and sighed. “Somehow I can’t seem to believe that…” with another sigh she looked back at me with serious eyes. “Now pay close attention to this part, it’s about the things that are able to kill what you are now…”
I was awoken by a strong resonance, a shockwave so powerful it nearly broke my piece of world seed. But no, that’s impossible! How!? With my eyes opening wide from shock I bolted up freeing myself from the comfortable prison of supple flesh that had surrounded me. How could something so utterly dominate a piece of world seed!? It’s as if that piece has been consumed, lost forever for the rest of Eden… But that’s impossible!
“My… King…?” a voice heavy with desire sounded out softly from beside me.
Is this some trick by the angelic hosts? But then I haven’t heard of the angels holding on to more than one piece of the seed… Then… Could it be one of the mortal races? My mind was racing as the aftermath of the powerful resonance began to sink into my piece of the world seed. But no magic the mortals could use should be able to do such a thing to an artifact of as much power as a world seed piece... My mind turned over as it considered the four main mortal races and attempted to find one capable of consuming a world seed, even just a small piece of a world seed, but in the end I couldn’t find one. The elves? No, probably not… Even if they are the best at wielding and shaping magic of the mortal races even they shouldn’t be able to anything like this, at least I don’t think they should be able to… The beastkin then? No, that would be ridiculous! Those animals have only recently gained a talent for magic and even then that’s only if you consider the random tossing around of mana their shamans do as magic… The dwarves have never been good at wielding mana, they’d never be able to do this… Humans might be a possibility but they would have even less of a chance than the elves…
“My King… Is there something troubling you?” Another soft voice sounded from behind me, but I didn’t bother to respond.
With a sigh I cast aside the sheet as I moved to leave the bed, now was not the time for sleep or partaking in the pleasures my concubines could offer. “Summon my council, no better yet send for my hands…” Looking back at the women beginning to rouse themselves my voice turned to iron as I spoke my commands. “I want Aiolo and Rasa here within the hour, even if they must abandon a position on the frontlines…”
With a start the women all quickly bowed as they spoke simultaneously. “““Yes, my king.””” They quickly scrambled out of the room to carry out my will, not even pausing to clothe themselves before leaving in the fear it would delay their carrying out my orders too much.
Now alone in the room I sighed and rubbed my forehead in distress. To think there is something out there that has accomplished something even I could not… It is just further proof that no matter how high you ascend or how powerful you become there is always something greater than you. It was ironic really, to the mortal races I probably seemed like some invincible monster but they never considered that there were things even a mighty demon king like myself feared facing. If the mortal races ever saw what ruled the deeper levels of the demon abyss or heard the tales told of the elder gods they might just go mad from terror… Hell, I nearly went mad myself… With another long sigh I gazed up at the arched gold-plated ceiling. And now something has appeared in Eden with a spiritual force strong enough to devour a piece of Eden’s world seed… Closing my eyes I let myself dwell in depression for a time, but even that lasted for no more than a few moments. Now to ensure my peoples survival I must find a way to strip this being of its piece of the world seed, nothing shall keep me from fulfilling my goals and ensuring my people obtain the new home I’ve promised them. Not even the elder gods or the grand demons of the abyss will keep me from my goal…
As I resolved myself and began to make new plans around the appearance of this new unforeseen factor I felt myself begin to smile. “Infinite resources, ultimate authority, the power to create a whole new world and rule it as a god… I will assemble all the pieces of Eden’s world seed and harness its vast powers for the good of demon kind… it is my destiny…”
I looked at the two kneeling before me from my position seated on the grand throne. “My two hands, Leaders of legions over a million demon warriors strong, my two oldest and truest friends... I need your assistance now more than ever…” The two didn’t move as I spoke, neither of them even seemed to take a breath as they awaited my orders. “There has been a development to the east, something has found and fully harnessed the power of a piece of Eden’s world seed. I need one of you to take on the mission to find this being, observe it, protect it, and ensure that no irreversible damage occurs to the piece of world seed they possess.”
As I looked between the two I considered who I should send. Aiolo is needed on the front lines to organize and lead the legion… But Rasa can hold up the legion on her own for a time where her younger sister could not do the same… Though sending Aiolo would lower their legions morale, the legion would not collapse. But the real question is would Rasa be able to hold the legion together on her own long enough for Aiolo to finish a mission like this? With a subtle glance at the faces of the two knelling before me I decided to take a gamble. “Aiolo, you are the one that shall undertake this task. You shall head to the east and find the one who has harnessed this new world seed piece, and when the time is ripe I shall seize the world seed piece from them.”
“I am honored to undertake this mission for you my king…” Aiolo raised her head and stared forward with a gaze that suggested complete confidence in her ability to complete this task.
“You must have patience for this task, it could take years to complete. It is not something to take lightly…”
“Of course my king, I spoke hastily.” Aiolo bowed her head once more.
“Aiolo, really enough with such formalities… Before I am your liege, I am your friend.” I said with a smile. “Now come, Aiolo, Rasa, we have much to prepare you both for.” I got up and began to walk towards the hidden room behind the throne before stopping as a thought crossed my mind, looking back at the two sisters who had risen and were walking towards me I spoke. “And Aiolo, there is something that I think will help you with your mission…”