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Germination: A Fantasy LitRPG Adventure

Germination: A Fantasy LitRPG Adventure PDF

Author: Seth Ring

Publisher: ‎ Independently published


Publish Date: August 17, 2022


Pages: 412

File Type: Epub, PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

This one is a failure as well.

Sighing, John stared morosely at the thick, golden wheat waving gently in the late spring winds. The heavy grains were plump and healthy, but the problem was that each contained a kernel of mana that would kill a regular human as soon as it passed their lips. Of the five one-acre parcels John had planted the previous year, he was currently staring at the one with the lowest mana concentration, but even that was likely to be lethal, especially if consumed in any quantity.

It seems like the problem is the plant can’t process the mana so it’s just storing it, which leads to the buildup. This would be great for beasts to eat, since their bodies can naturally process mana, but for normal humans and animals, it will kill them almost instantly.

Standing up from where he crouched, John reached out, picking some of the grains from a stalk and throwing them into his mouth.

The mana in the grains was absorbed into his body as he crunched on the hard seeds, immediately brought under his control by his maxed-out Mana Control skill. The trace amounts of mana hardly made a difference as the mana in his body continued to flow out, powering the Mental Model skill he was currently using.

He had picked up the incredibly useful spell in the ruins of the Mage’s tower he had explored the previous fall, and over the winter his near-constant use of the skill had allowed him to grow it to thirty-eight points. As it continued to work, sucking away his mana, he idly opened his status, expanding it to show his skills and quests.

Name: John Sutton

Age: 28

Class: Mage

Spells: 1

Active Quests: [Grow Wheat]

Skill List: [Mana Breath: 00], [Arcane Tongue: 00], [Mana Sense: 00],

[Mana Reinforcement: 00], [Mental Model: 38]

Skill Points: 0

Spell List: [Fireball (Basic)]

Quest List: [Prevent the Apocalypse], [Grow Wheat]

Doom Points: 73/100

At least I was able to get my Doom Points down. I’m lucky using Mental Model doesn’t count toward generating more of them, otherwise I’d be up near one hundred by now, if not well over.

The Mental Model skill hadn’t been the only thing he’d found in the ruins. From the adventurers who had led him to the ruins he had recovered a full set of water spells that led all the way from the apprentice level up to legendary. Though he hadn’t decided what he wanted to do with them, they were beyond valuable in a world that had lost ninety-nine percent of its magical knowledge.

Closing his status, John turned and let his eyes sweep over the farm, taking in the idyllic setting. When he had arrived at the farm eight months earlier, it had been run-down and starting to fall apart, despite Ellie’s and Ben’s best efforts. The constant harassment from the bandits of Wolf Den had added to the general disrepair of the farm, but the main problem had just been that there was too much for a young woman and pre-teen boy to handle alone.

Today, the Sutton Farm that appeared in his view was nothing like the broken-down Burrows homestead he had gotten the deed for. Their herd of cows had grown to nearly forty after their latest batch of calves were born and the chickens had expanded to nearly three dozen, providing them with a steady stream of eggs. Glancing back at the twenty acres of regular wheat ripening in the sun, John had trouble keeping the smile from his face. After having spent a decade scrabbling around in the mud, desperate to preserve his life, there was something truly fulfilling about seeing things grow and mature thanks to the hard work of his hands.

Hearing the chime of a bell, John glanced toward the house where Ellie was calling everyone for dinner. Over the winter he had continued to expand his new home, finishing the bathroom and combining the two smaller rooms into one large room for Ellie. Ben

had started spending most of his nights in the bunkhouse with Thomas and Even, so Ellie had the room in the house to herself.

“Mr. Sutton,” a thin young man of around twenty years old greeted John as he walked past the cheese cellar.

“How was the delivery this morning, Even?”

Even had been helping on the farm over the winter and had proven himself to be as hard working as anyone. He mainly took care of the milking with Thomas and handled the daily milk, butter, and cheese deliveries the farm made around the valley. Though John still didn’t know much about Even, he had come highly recommended by Sven and had proven his work ethic through his steady efforts.

“It went well. We’ve got three special orders from the village, and even one from the Esters.”

“Oh? What do the Esters want?”

“It’s Mrs. Esters’ birthday soon, so Mr. Esters stopped me and asked me to add a bit of cheese to their order. He paid me already.”

“Great. Add one of the small wheels of brie and one of the stamped cheese cutters Gofreid brought us. I’ll ask Ellie to write a note to send along as well.”

A wide smile crossed Even’s face, and he nodded enthusiastically as he made a note on his order forms. From the little John did know about Even, he knew the Esters had been one of the families that had helped Even out when the orphaned young man was all alone.

“Yes, sir!”

Nodding to Even, John turned to go up onto the porch, stopping when a shadow fell over him. Looking up, he saw a majestic-looking rooster staring down at him from the roof, a haughty look on his face.

Sigvald had grown by more than a foot over the winter and was nearly four feet tall thanks to the steady diet of condensed mana crystals John had been feeding him. His red and orange feathers gleamed in the light, almost appearing to carry a metallic sheen, and the thick dark-blue and violet tail feathers that jutted almost five feet into the air behind him gave him a regal look. A black leather eyepatch Ellie had sown up for him covered one of the rooster’s

eyes where he had been injured last fall by an adventurer’s blade, and even though his eye was perfectly fine, the rooster continued to insist on wearing it.

Rolling his eyes, John reached into his pocket for some of the mana-infused grains he had grabbed for further study and flicked them up at the rooster. Eyes gleaming, Sigvald grabbed them out of the air with his beak with lightning-fast strikes, returning to his proud look a moment later. Ignoring the prideful bird, John walked up onto the porch and into the kitchen. Nothing much had changed about the kitchen apart from adding hot water to the sink, and after washing his hands, he dried them on the hanging towel and took his seat. Ellie was still putting everything on the table, and John found himself following her with his eyes as she bustled about. Catching him looking at her, Ellie smiled and gestured toward the fields behind the house.

“Any luck?”

“No,” John said, shaking his head. “Still having the same problem. The wheat is picking up the mana, but it’s just storing it. It can’t actually process it. I need to figure out a way for the plant to use the mana itself.”

“I guess that just leaves the night flowers.”

Thinking about the flowers Ellie was talking about, John nodded.

They had planted the flowers he’d received from the grimm in pots in the cheese cellar, and under the magical light of the mana lamps the flowers had been thriving. Though they had not tested it again, John remembered the effect the exposed flower had had on the surrounding plants clearly. Somehow, exposing the flowers to sunlight transformed them into a mist that caused other plants to bloom almost instantly. Considering that the night flowers were practically made from mana, John was very interested in how they allowed other plants to absorb the mana they were made from.

“Yeah, we might have to start some experiments with them.

However, that will need to wait until after harvest.”

The door opened, and John saw a short man walk into the kitchen, followed by Even and Ben. Though he had always known that his former adjutant was highly adaptable, John continued to

marvel at how well Thomas had settled into his role as farmhand.

With an instinctive sense for what needed to be done and an almost obsessive level of organization, Thomas completed not only his own tasks, but much more, leading John to the suspicion that if Thomas were to leave, Sutton Farm would quickly fall apart. Sticking close to his side was Ben, who was still learning how to handle a dagger in the early mornings before the first milking started.

Everyone sat down at the table and Ellie started passing out the food, loading generous portions onto each person’s plate. As they ate, they talked about the farm and what still needed to be done to get ready for the harvest time that would soon be upon them.

“Gofreid will be back soon, right?” Ellie asked, looking at John.

Shrugging, John dipped a piece of his bread crust into his soup and popped it into his mouth.

“I’m not sure. I would expect him soon, but the passes are just starting to clear, so it might still be a month before the caravans can make it through.”

“Okay, that should give us enough time for the first aged batches to finish up, but I’m a bit worried that with harvest approaching we won’t have time to keep our cheese production going.”

“Thomas and I can handle the harvest,” John said. “Do you want more help with cheese?”

“Maybe,” Ellie nodded. “Between cooking and cleaning and the garden, I feel like our production has fallen behind.”

“Well, keep your eye out. If you see someone you’d like to bring on, let me know.”

After lunch had ended, everyone went back to work, and John headed for the pasture where Ferdie was kept. The giant bull was happily munching on grass at the far end of the field, but when he caught sight of John, he trotted over. Putting down the new post he was going to use to repair the fence, John grabbed the old one and pulled it out of the ground. Time and the elements had weakened it, and he had seen a split running down it after Ferdie had gotten too excited while using it to scratch his back.

Tossing the broken post aside, John pushed the new post into the ground, easily sinking it an extra two feet down. Patting the ground

around it to make sure it would stand up straight, he glanced around to make sure no one was near and then used a tiny blue flame to burn the cutouts into it for the rails. The fence was more for show than anything, since the cows never strayed far from Ferdie when they were out of the barn, but John still made it strong, just so he wouldn’t have to fix it again for a long time. Hearing a deep moo, John finished resetting the rails and looked up at Ferdie, who was looking at him expectantly.

“What’s up?”

Mooing again, Ferdie jerked his head and then trotted toward the far end of the pasture where a large rock stood. Realizing the bull wanted him to follow, John slipped through the fence. Thanks to the higher-than-average mana content of the valley, the grass in the pasture grew quickly enough for the cows, but due to the high yield of corn in the fall of last year, they had been able to switch to a better diet over the winter and were still feeding the cows a nice feed mix of corn, hay, and silage. There was a lot to farming that John still didn’t know, but he was having tremendous fun learning.

At first, John thought the rock had grown, but he quickly realized it had just been pushed up at an angle by the plant that was growing under it. Throughout the winter, John had been feeding Ferdie mana crystals almost daily, but at least once a week the bull demanded an extra crystal for the plant he was caring for, and the effect was obvious. From a small plant with a few of the broccoli-like pods, the plant had grown by at least a dozen times. Ten branch-like structures had spread from the thick trunk of the plant, and as John walked over they swayed lightly as if welcoming him.

Huh, what a strange plant.

John had seen the plant absorbing the mana from one of his mana crystals and hadn’t thought too much about it, figuring it was just like the other plants that stored up the mana in pockets, but as he examined it now, he was surprised to see that far from having pockets of concentrated mana, the plant actually had a mana circulation system that was much closer to Ferdie’s. Instead of pulling mana in through its roots to store in its leaves and flowers like a normal plant, this strange thing seemed to work the opposite way.

Mana was being pulled in through the delicate pod structures at the end of branches that looked like broccoli. The mana it was taking in this way was being funneled back through the trunk system and being sent down into the roots.

Curious. I wonder if it has any nutritional value?

Abruptly, the plant seemed to curl in on itself, its branches turning over to reveal small thorns while it tucked its pods down close to its trunk. Clearly able to sense the potential threat John posed, the plant continued to tighten until it looked like a tough, spiky ball, leaving John shocked. Next to the plant, Ferdie let out an angry moo, as if chiding John for scaring the plant. Giving John a look, the bull huffed on the plant and pawed the ground.

“Sorry, sheesh. It was just an idle thought,” John said, holding up his hand defensively.

Ugh. I really am going crazy. Why am I apologizing to a plant?

About to turn around, John suddenly froze as a blue window popped up in front of him.

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