Chapter 11:

The Forest God's Plight

The Writer of Magic

Rain... I hate the rain.

It happened while I was planning on my vacation. I just got confirmation of my 13th month pay and I wanted to rest on editing numerous works. I wanted to go back to my home country, Spend time with my parents, and maybe even catch up with my childhood friends along the way.

That is until that freak storm happened. Out of nowhere it engulfed the city, classes were rendered suspended. Streets were flooded, and people were just trying to go home. So was I... If only I didn't take the scenic route. If only I blended in with the crowd more. If only I wasn't so reserved, maybe I wouldn't have been struck by lightning on the fateful day.

What was the reaction of my parents? Was I dead? Or was I in a vegetative state in reality? I don't know anymore.

The crackle of fire was enough to wake me up. I grouchily looked at my surroundings. My tunic and coat were hung on the side. And when I got up, the shoulder that was bitten by the serpent was patched up. The Hushpollen was still linger inside me. But... Why don't I feel anymore pain, nor did I have anymore nightmares?

A movement from my right alarmed me and I was now face to face with the Kusanagi Ranger. His eyes were a pair of golden orbs, and the way he walks was creeping me out.

"You... have woken up." He said and tosses my grimoire away from my reach. And he removes the cloak he was wearing, revealing his light green armor and his helmet.

Reiko's face was slowly being eaten by a purple and pulsating vein. His left eye was also tinged in purple, but his right eye was a beautiful shade of teal. His hair was uneven, with his glossy black hair tinged with violet tips.

I gestured my throat, and he shakes his head.

"You speak your magic. The vines have told me so. It is dangerous for the master if you are to speak." Reiko said and approaches me.

"You are carrying a dangerous toxin inside. In more ways, you and I are not so different from one another." He said and he forces me to stand up. His grip was so strong, that even if he is a Ranger, he can still kick my ass easily.

He looked at me with his suspicion filled eyes, and all of a sudden he drags me out and tosses me off the cliff.

I couldn't scream because I was still under the effects of the Hushpollen, but I wanted to hurl so many curse words at him before plunging into the deep blue lake. My back crashed hard on the Waters surface, stunning me as I sink down the watery abyss. Is this how I die? How ironic... Then I felt something tugging me, and I was picking up speed, and I burst out the water's surface and noticed the tree root, or should I say tail. Was rising.

From the surface, the tree looked like an ordinary one, but as I look at it a little bit closer, the eyes were glowing dull teal, and the vines were literally its beard.

"Welcome... Child of man." It said, I wasn't sure what to make of it, but still, I was mute.

"I see you are under the influence of my children. I apologize, my ranger is... a bit hostile towards your kind." The serpent said. "Ah, where are my manners. I am Arbor. I'm sure you know who I am."

I nod. The Serpent Deity who Charles killed off to start the Rainforest Arc. Arbor, Lord of Nature. Seeing him now, I guess Charles granted him a swift and merciful death. Nature Elemental Energy was coursing through his pale white body. I could feel his power waning with each day passes. The serpent sighs and a wind of fresh minty air wafts through me, and then I could feel my throat easing up, and I could speak again.

How I wanted to talk one more time. Good thing Arbor gave me the chance again.

"Lord Arbor... that boy is a mage, a speaker of magical incantations." Reiko arrives as he plunges from above, and both of us exchanged glares.

"I would fry you for throwing me off the cliff and stripping me of my clothing. But I can't... so count yourself lucky." I told him and Reiko only chuckled.

"You? Fight me? You were so helpless when we first fought, how can you hope to beat me now?" He leaned in front of me, he wasn't bluffing, this guy means business.

"Enough... both of you." Arbor sighed and coils tighter. The Serpent god was wincing each time the tree shook. Reiko was looking at the serpent with the utmost concern.

"By the looks of things... it seems you know what it is that's afflicting me?" Arbor inquires. And I nod.

"I do. But to be completely honest, what Reiko is doing is just delaying the inevitable. And I would stop you from asking, but my powers can't fix you. I'm sorry." I said, telling the Old God that my magic is not as omnipotent as a God's.

The Serpent laughs, but it was a light and full of satisfaction, but Reiko was glaring angrily at me.

"I wasn't talking about prolonging my life child. All Gods know that death comes to all." He said. "No, in fact... I am asking if your power... as a traverser from another realm can free my servant from his vow." As the Serpent God said those words, a quest appears;

-Sub-Quest received! The Vow of the Forest-

Free Reiko Kusanagi from his Vow as 'Kusanagi Ranger'

There were no clear rewards, nor even a Failure penalty. So this is... Arbor's true and only wish. I looked at Reiko, he wasn't looking at the Serpent God, but he was frustrated.

I know what Arbor meant. If Reiko remains as the Kusanagi Ranger for a longer time, Arbor's apparent death will contaminate him as well. Those who made a vow with their God as protectors will carry the burden of the Gods themselves.

A cruel way of reverence. That's how I wrote their belief. You can't have a blessing, without first suffering.

"I can." I said and the serpent god gestures at Reiko, who looked at him with fear and betrayal, then at me with vindictive hostility.

"I won't let you do it." Reiko said and he rushes for at with blinding speed and locked me in a choke hold. His strength surprised me as he was almost knocking me out again.

"REIKO KUSANAGI, STAND DOWN." Arbor bellows and the whole valley shakes from the surge of Natural Energy. Reiko releases me from his grip and I was gasping for air. Anger roared in my ears as I used the nature energy holding Reiko in place, even without my grimoire.

"Burst and grow forth, Ivy Rush!"

Ivy vines materialized around Reiko, and constricts him, then yellow flowers blossomed and explodes into a blast of gold pollen. Reiko skids across Arbor's body and gives me a murderous glare.

"Oh you've done it now kid." He said and his bow materialized in his hand and a pitch black arrow was on his other hand. While I was ready to speed cast another spell.


The bellow was enough to break my concentration, and Reiko stopped as well. Arbor's presence was overbearing on me, like gravity increased ten fold. But the effect only lasted briefly as the serpent god was beginning to strain. The both of us rush towards the Serpent's head, and I could see it up close now.

"This taint... Did it came from the humans in Senzakura?" I inquired. I wrote about the Violet Plague, but I never expounded around it before. It's an unknown disease caused by Chimera blood. If the God of this forest has been tainted, that would mean, the whole forest is affected.

"Senzakura is only a factor, but not the main one. This toxin, it's very foreign. One that can harm even a God. And one that can transmit and infect their chosen." The Serpent God hissed in pain. Then I glanced at Reiko, he didn't like to share this topic it seems.

I spent my days there with Reiko and Arbor, days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months. With my communicator busted, I couldn't send an SOS signal. And even if I did, the dense jungle canopy will block out the signal. I wonder... Were they all alright?

Arbor and Reiko didn't kept me as a prisoner here, and my relationship with them turned from apathy to co-existence. I didn't want to use Destiny Editor yet, so to make up for their suffering, I was treating them like my patients. I was using Water energy to alleviate their pains bit by bit. Looking at Reiko and the God, it seems healing Arbor first will also benefit his acolytes.

"How long has it been ailing you?" I asked one session. And the God just looks at Reiko. And it dawned unto me. The Kusanagi Incident.

"Roughly two years ago. When I was still part of the Jove Platoon. Hanabi and I were recent Cadets, long story short: Something went awry and I had to borrow the power of the Forest Protector. I succeeded but the price was steep. I had to leave the Platoon... and Hanabi." He said wistfully. Mentioning Hanabi must've awakened unfavorable memories. "I'm sure you know how that mission went, considering you and Hanabi are teammates now."

"I don't. I never pressed Hanabi for answers." I said and Reiko gave a hollow laugh.

"You don't fool me. Mages like are always hungry for knowledge. Your curiosity will eat you one day, then you'll be forced to confront Hanabi about it?" He gloated and I could feel my face heating up with anger. What's this guy's beef with me?

"I'm not that kind of person. Whatever your prejudice towards the mage community, leave me out of it." I said, it's true though. I'm not part of any mage community, nor do I even belong in this world in the first place.

Reiko was about to say something when Arbor began to writhe in pain. His breathing became so tense even I was taken aback. Then I saw the violet veins beginning to fester even more.

"Move it!" Reiko pushed me aside as he places his hand on the Serpent's Plagued Veins and it seems like he was offering his vitality to absorb the plague, it was getting smaller, but that meant the plague was going inside Reiko instead. His right eye was turning purple by the second.

"Reiko! Are you mad?!" I shouted as I pulled him away from Arbor.

"Let me go! Arbor needs me!" Reiko shouted as he pushed me away, despite his lean frame, he tossed me aside like I was nothing. "Master, I'm here. Please hang in there!"

Reiko was forcing the Violet Plague inside him to cure the Dying God. If this keeps up, Reiko will lose his sanity. Thus, creating the Boss of the Kusanagi Rainforest. Arbor gave me a glance, telling me to stop Reiko.

"I'm sorry Reiko. But this is for your own good!" I said as I condensed Natural energy on my fist and it became as hard as wood and I pushed Reiko away from Arbor.

"You bastard, stop interfering!" Reiko shouts but I stopped him by summoning vines. Entangling him and rendering him unable to move.

"Reiko stop!" Arbor orders but Reiko was still struggling.

Before any of us could do anything, something cold was seeping in, like a gust of northern winds began to billow on towards us. I looked behind, and couldn't see anything, but I could hear it. The footsteps of quadrupeds. Invisible ones at that.

"That can't be good." I whispered and released Reiko's bindings. He too stopped as if the situation required his full attention.

"Where's my book." I asked and Reiko points at the top, I silently cursed and condensed nature element energy.

"When I give you the signal, cover the master." Reiko said and I nod, our priority was protecting Arbor. Because if he dies, so will Reiko.


I slammed the energy on the ground to cover the sick god as I ascend through the vines, Reiko shoots an arrow that burst into a cloud of pollen, revealing our enemies.

Red veins pulsating from their eyes, black tipped horns, and bodies filled with color changing pigments. It snarled at me and Reiko and they surged forward. While ascending, I gave them an intense look and activated 'Scry':

Name: Horned Changeling

Level: 11

Species: Chameleon

Weakness: Darkness

Skills: Camouflage, Horn Launcher, Tongue Lash

They were mean, they were green by nature, and they can launch their horns at their targets. This is not good.

Once I've ascended to the top, three changelings were waiting for me, and they were holding my grimoire. I felt so annoyed that they grabbed it with their grubby forelimbs.

"Hands off." I said and commands the vines to toss them aside and towards the lake. I grab hold of my grimoire, and just took Reiko's cloak once I realized that I was still going around topless.

At the base of the tree, Reiko was being slowly overwhelmed by the sheer number of changelings charging towards him, and I doubt the vines that I used to protect Arbor would be enough to help. I grit my teeth and slide down, ignoring the quest screen when it appeared in front of me as I was gathering Dark elemental energy.

"Abyssal blades raze those who would be thine enemies, Onyx Sabers!"

Countless blades made from my shadow rained down in front of Reiko, blocking and killing the encroaching changelings that even he can't deal with in close quarters. I landed beside him and he nods.

"Sorry I'm late." I said.

"That's my cloak." He notes and I rolled my eyes.

"Can we just focus in protecting Lord Arbor." I snapped.

"Doesn't explain the cloak." He said and releases three arrows in quick succession.

"Engulf the land with purest darkness, Oblivion!"

I coalesced dark energy on my grimoire and launched that orb forward, when it hits one of the changelings, it expanded, creating a void that pulls in the others.

"Grand Barrage!"

Reiko shoots multiple arrows to the sky, and it all rained down on the cluster of enemies inside Oblivion.

We may have defeated a lot of them, but there were more crawling through the entrance.

"We need to close that. They can gnaw through wood." Reiko grits his teeth.

"I can't use Earth Magic." I said, and Reiko just stared at me.

"What?!" He shouts but I willed the water to create a wall that surged forward. Drowning most of the changelings. "You can use Nature but you don't know how to use Earth?!"

"Now's not the time!" I shout back and a horn sailed past me and lodged on the vine wall. Then the chameleons fired more of their horns. It was clear on who their target was.

Reiko and I raged. I technically said screw it and unleashed every element in my disposal. The flames roared, the winds bellowed. Vines were given sentience, and the waters danced. Light shines down and Darkness gobbles up.

The changelings were afraid by the barrage of magic, but it soon made me bleed through my nose due to fatigue and overload of spellcasting. Sensing my weakened state, they were surging forward again.

Reiko wasn't doing too good either, his fingers were bleeding from non-stop shooting, his eyes were also strained from the stress and the times he had to keep his accuracy in their breaking points.

I looked at the Vine Wall, and sure enough I could see something oozing from it. Blood.

"Master!" Reiko shouts but a tongue wraps around his neck and the same thing happened with me. The changelings pinned us down and took turns in smacking us with their forelimbs and blunt claws. All the while attacking Arbor's weak cover.

"S-Stop it!" I shout but to no avail. This was a hopeless fight. We were easily overwhelmed. Until a piercing light engulfs the changelings. A light I was so glad to see.

"This is Private Tobias King! I found our missing comrade!"

Toby said and brandishing Oathsworn, he decimates the chimeras in front of him.

From his back, Leo shoots a burning ammo, which explodes on contact. Claire comes in, spear rending through the front ranks. Among them was Trent, he was shooting arrows, though not as efficient as Reiko, but it was imbued by the Element of Fire.

And behind them, brilliant light empowering them, was Hanabi, wielding her staff as she casts a healing spell on both me and Reiko.

"H-Hanabi?" Reiko stuttered and I was stunned. How did they find this place? And... What will happen to Reiko now?