“So what you’re saying is I’m doomed?” As I spoke gloomily I looked at Gardener and my mind went over the long list of things that can and probably will come to kill me. All sorts of mages master level or above, demons, angels, necromancers and undead, artificers, treasure hunters, hero wannabes, countless monsters, and pretty much all nations... Great...
“No, I just suggest that you learn to defend yourself since it is likely that many will come and attempt to strip the world seed fragment from you. They likely will not succeed in stripping the seed from you while your soul still exists, and so as I said they will likely destroy your soul to improve their chance of retrieving the fragment.” Gardener spoke calmly as she shifted in her seat.
“Oh, so I should just learn to defend myself, huh? You do remember when you told me I won’t be able to cast magic due to the massive mana fluctuations and projection this place causes in me, right? So if I can’t use magic, how the fuck am I supposed to defend myself from fucking mages!?”
With a reluctant sigh Gardener looked away and began picking at the stump. “I suppose you’ll just have to find your own method to manage any hostile mages and creatures. I’d recommend that you find a weapon you’re comfortable with and learn to use it to great effect…”
I glared at the redheaded girl. “Oh haha, you do realize I don’t even have a solid body let alone a hand to hold a weapon with don’t you!?”
“Just make a solid body with hands then…” The girl twirled a piece of bark inbetween her fingers as she dropped a bomb on me in an almost bored voice.
“Just make a body with hands...”
I forced myself to once again contain my internal screams of frustration as I sighed and the now familiar ripples ran across my body. “And how exactly am I supposed to that, Gardener?”
“I’ll show you fairly soon, but first I need to ask you a very important question.” Gardener stood up slowly and turned away from me as she spoke. “You possess a power that is almost akin to that of a god, if you manage to survive long enough to master the power of this fragment of the world seed you will likely become one of the most powerful or influential beings in all of Eden. Perhaps enough to rival even the powers of the angels, demons, and mortals…”
“I already promised I wouldn’t go out of my way to mess with the elves unless they do something to me first…”
“You misunderstand, the point I’m trying to make is entirely different from my prior request… How to say this? The power and use of the world seed is beyond the comprehension of all but the gods themselves, but there are ancient legends that speak of the world seed being able to create a whole new world. It is said that the world seed was broken into nine fragments and scattered across Eden by an ancient forgotten race so that no one would ever be able to use that power, because when that power is used it could bring about the destruction of Eden itself. If you are truly able to totally master the power of this fragment of the world seed then you’ll probably seek out the other fragments, so I ask that if you ever manage to gather all the fragments together and reform the complete world seed you merely do not bring an end to Eden.”
I almost laughed at the ridiculousness of this new request, I wasn’t all that sure I’d be able to even survive on Eden let alone be able to roam it searching for these other fragments of the world seed she was talking about. I also didn’t really have any desire to destroy the world or anything like that, though making a world of my own design did sound kind of cool. Honestly I think I’d be happy if I could just survive in this world and live a long and happy life… Maybe try out making my own harem like in all those stories I used to read… I might even try establishing my own little territory or something if I can, but creating and destroying worlds just sounds like too much work and a huge pain in the ass… Looking at Gardener my formless body bobbed in the air which was apparently how I nodded as a formless blob thing. “Yeah sure, I don’t plan on bringing about the end of the world…”
Gardener turned around to face me and stared at me for a long while, I couldn’t read anything from her expression and I was sure that she couldn’t read anything from me being the formless blob I was. Finally after what was a rather long uncomfortable silence she spoke. “Good, then I believe I’ve explained everything I knew about the garden to you. Now all that’s left is to aid you in forming your mana body…”
“Great! Let’s do this!” I felt the excitement of being in a real body again soon adding a new climb on the emotional rollercoaster ride that was the last ten hours of my life.
“I see your mood has improved, that’s good. Now since you likely have no experience in doing something like this it would be best to just imagine whatever form you had previously… That is… Unless this is actually your original form…?”
“Yeah, no. I was human originally, thank you very much…” I said sarcastically as I imagined my body as it was on Earth.
“Oh, I see… Human… Very well then…”
“You have something against humans?” I asked cautiously as I remembered how strong a force racism was in both stories and reality.
“Not… particularly…” Gardener’s expression was a complex mix of emotions but was quickly resolved into her pretty neutral smile. “Now as you imagine your body’s form it’s important you do not add or change anything…”
I couldn’t help myself and had to ask. “Why, what’s the big deal if I give my new body a few touch ups?”
“Well besides the fact that any changes you make will likely be unnecessary since the massive influx of mana will naturally improve one’s inherent beauty…”
“Handsomeness, please use handsomeness and not beauty when talking about something like that to me. I am a man after all…”
“Hehe, whatever you wish, handsomeness then… Anyway besides that reason making any “touch ups” you might think of making pointless you should also be aware that any changes you make will end up being permanent.”
For a moment I paused as I realized how bad it would be to mess up on something and have it become a permanent part of my features. “How permanent?”
“Well, for the first thirty two years of my life I was male…”
At that single sentence I cast aside any idea of fiddling with my mental image like I might a game avatar, I just focused on how I used to look. Exactly how I used to look.
POV: Green Death
One has been eaten… How? Even I cannot eat my special core…
The feeling rocked through my special core and caused me to stop dissolving my prey.
I shifted my perception behind me to see my companions, they hadn’t sensed what I had but they had noticed my hesitation. “It is nothing…” I began to dissolve my prey once more. “Merely a surprise...”
“Surprise?” Another of my companions, one of the younger ones.
“Not your concern…” I didn’t bother looking back again. “I will be… the one to… take care of… this… You all eat…” instead I focused on the mass of fresh corpses and still living prey that littered the base of my mountain. “Otherwise I will… eat all of… these foolish prey… myself...”
Stupid prey… They never stop marching here to their deaths… At least they make for good food…
Extending a green tendril towards one of the winged corpses I brought it into myself and began to dissolve it.
Though at least this time they weren’t stupid enough to hunt each other first… Maybe because this time the prey all look the same? Doesn’t matter, the prey all die anyway… Then they become food for us.
As I dissolved my 153rd corpse I watched as my companions begin to head down my mountain to hunt those prey still alive.
It’s almost time to move again… My mountain’s almost empty now…
I looked down at the body laying nude on some mossy ground. Ok, that’s just not right… I mean I did want to emphasize a few of my better features but… My formless body was vibrating and rippling uncontrollably. I didn’t want to become a complete pretty boy!!! I mean what the fuck!!! This barely even resembles me! It’s like this body belongs to my better looking secret twin who just so happens to be model! I mean seriously what the hell! The body in front had my features, but now it was if those same features had been purposefully sculpted in the best position and with the best definition possible. The body’s skin also had a smoothness and luster to its tan tone that my old skin on Earth never had, even that mole on my shoulder had disappeared.
“Well this is a surprise… Hehe, who knew you were such a looker?” Gardener was poking the body’s cheek and giggling.
“Um, please don’t touch it… I mean me… I mean, oh whatever…” I was still staring at the body and trying to convince myself this was going to be my body now.
“Sure, now you just need to occupy this mana body. Oh, and I would hurry if I were you, if you let it sit hollow like this for too long the body will fade away into raw mana.”
I moved a bit closer to the body but soon found myself pausing to stare again, I kept trying to compare this body to the one I had on Earth. Honestly I had thought I looked pretty good back on Earth but now looking at this mana perfected body I couldn’t help but feel that Earth Ark was average at the absolute best. I mean really, does this mean that all mages with a high concentration of mana or mana pool or whatever are going to be ridiculously attractive? But wait if mana is in everything… My god, is Eden a world of models!? As I rode that train of thought right through to its final destination at harem station in desire city I found myself suddenly shoved forward. There was a strange stretching and expanding sensation and then I was flooded with feeling, sensations and feelings I had forgotten about suddenly shot through me and lingered until they faded into the background of my senses.
“Hehe, that’s lucky, I made it in time… Oh, here’s some last bits of advice. That body is made from mana and is essentially immortal and unchanging, but there are also limitations and differences that a mana body possess that a normal physical body wouldn’t possess.” As I opened my eyes I saw the upper half of Gardener’s body as it slowly faded into nothing, her smile was breathtaking and seemed to be her first genuine smile since I meet her. “Hehe, I’ll leave the rest of the secrets of the garden and your new body up to you to discover… I wish you well Ark Pendragon, please remember to honor my requests…”
As I sat up I saw her fade to nothing accompanied by her echoing bell like laughter, as Gardener disappeared the scenery morphed into a barren field. The meadow was gone, the forest was gone, the grass was gone, the trees were gone, and even the sun was gone. It was like when Gardener disappeared she took everything she introduced to this place with her.
With a sigh and a depressed glance around I realized for the first time how much work I would have to put into this place, when Gardener and all the plant life was still here it had seemed like an easy task to improve this place. Now, I wasn’t nearly so confident. But as long as I can grab enough stuff from Eden… As I thought about things suddenly it dawned on me that I felt a connection to this place that hadn’t been there before. On a whim following an instinct that seemed as natural as breathing I gestured in front of me and found that a large hole formed, then on a thought that hole filled itself and appeared no different than the rest of the flat barren ground around it. Oh… Oh this is… I couldn’t help myself from laughing. I understand…
With a thought I appeared back in the sealed stone room, back on Eden. With a grin that I was sure was probably as bright as my mood I finally let it out. “An in-built instinctual understanding of how to use that place! Holy shit! This makes things soooo much easier! Hahahahaha…” As I let feelings and insights about my new ability and what it needed flow through me I laughed to myself like a crazy person.