A month slowly ticked by. During this time the garden department worked closely with the alchemy department, to provide the needed pills for the coming battle. The unified front quickly broke down as people deserted. John soon noticed that the people who came to request materials changed. When he asked he found that half of the alchemy department had escaped in the night. Even worse whole combat division disappeared without a trace. This loss cut the already weekend strength significantly.
John wasn't surprised to find his division to be filled with deserters as well. However, when those left behind he was asked about creating countermeasures, he could only sigh. "There's no need just continue your work," he told the disciples.
"But we won't be able to replant at this rate," the disciple in charge of sowing seeds complained.
"Don't bother replanting. Just focus on the plants that are left behind and aiding the other departments," John commanded bluntly. The disciples were taken aback by this notion. They could only grit their teeth as they bowed and left.
As the new month began a disciple from the guard division arrived. "Gardener head a Felix Snow is here to visit you. Should I let him through?" the disciple asked, with a mix of suspicion and curiosity. John looked up from his desk with a smile. "Of course I sent for him to help me with a project. I'm glad he made it in time," he said disarmingly.
John went out to greet his friend as he was escorted to the garden division. He soon saw the skinny bespectacled man. He had dark circles around his eyes. Though he looked like a bookworm, his demeanor gave the feel of a proud adventurous man.
"Felix you made it! I thought you'd scampered off to wait for me to come haunt you," John teased. The jovial John is contradicted by the irate Felix. The friend comes stomping towards John as if to punch his lights out. Worry filled the onlooking disciple's eyes, but it was for not.
As Felix neared John, he pointed angrily at John. His hand shook with rage as he says, "You asshole dragging me to a place like this! This damn letter. Instead of coming up with stupid things like this you should just escape."
John unperturbed by the outburst just pats him on both his shoulders. "You're making this into a bigger deal than it is. You haven't even heard the details yet, and there is plenty of time. Let's discuss this over a cup of tea," he told his friend. John wrapped his left arm around Felix's shoulder and guided him cheerily to his garden home.
Once inside they sat down at John's desk. John took some tea leaves and threw them into a pot. He then activated a simple heating inscription. Felix grimaced and complained, "How can you brew tea like that? You heathen." John shrugged. "Why would I go through extra work for you? Warm tea is already good enough for us," he replied dismissively.
"Fine," Felix harrumphed as he threw the letter on the table. "What is this crap?" he asked in frustration. "You're pretty good at inscription right? So I thought it was time to call in a favor," John said smugly leaning back in his chair.
Felix jumped up from his chair and sent it shattering against the wall behind him. He snatched the letter up and opened it. He then slammed the open letter on to the desk, causing it to creak angrily. "You know damn well what I'm talking about," he sneered.
The letter only contained a death mark. Such death marks were used to curse the receiver. Upon the death of the inscriber, it would allow the inscriber to latch on to the soul of the receiver.
"You ran right over, so it worked right?" John retorted as he sipped his tea. He then continued looking Felix right in the eye, "You owe me a large favor, so I knew you would take it seriously."
The use of the death mark required mutual karma between two participants. If the karma is small like a passing dislike or even casual friendship, the death mark would have little effect, causing at most a rash for a few hours. However, were the karma to weigh heavily on the soul of the receiver, it may result in a long-term haunting. The ghost can harass or even greatly hurt the haunted at any time.
But if the karma doesn't weigh on the receiver, the effect will be close to null. If Terry Lohkam received John's death mark, it would do little. As Terry considered killing them no different from slaughtering animals.
There is a distinct difference between the karma that connects people, and the negative and positive karma one generates through deeds. The karma that connects people is like a chain of mutual connection, hate to hate, like to like, or created through obligation or contracts. While the karma generated by deeds creates an aura that affects the heavens.
Felix wanted to cry to use such a curse just to force him to hurry over. 'What a bastard,' he thought as he grabbed another chair and sat down. "So what do you want?" he asked as he picked up his own cup of tea.
"Well you know Terry Lohkam has sworn to destroy us right?" John asked casually. Felix raised his eyebrow as he sipped his tea. "Of course that's why I said you should run instead of playing stupid pranks," he stated.
"So do you think you can make an inscription to seal away this garden?" John inquired with a scheming smile. "Pfft," Felix spat out his coffee and gave John an incredulous look. "He is known as a super master at almost every occupation! Is this a joke?" Felix protested.
"So you can't?" John inquired ignoring his friend's disbelief. Felix grabbed his chin and looked deeply into his cup. He began to mumble strangely to himself. John just relaxed as he watched the man sink into the multitude of calculations, it took to create a complex inscription. After an hour Felix stirred from his deliberation.
"No, it's impossible to seal this place away from him," Felix concluded. He then took a sip of his tea only to grimace. "What kind of joke is this? To give me cold tea?" he berated John.
"You took so long to decide that your tea went cold! Why did you waste so much time if it's impossible? You must have thought of a plan at least," John retorted. He then seized a new teapot and poured new tea for both of them.
"Well, we could transport it away with a special trick I came up with recently..." he paused to look at his friend in hesitation, "but There is no way you could activate it with your strength."
John laughed happily at this news. "As long as that bastard can't get a hold of it that's good enough. It's my own petty victory," he said jovially.
"What about the problem of activating the inscription?" Felix asked curiously. John waved his friend's doubt away and declared "Isn't a strong man coming here? Using people like him is my specialty."
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