59 Inception of a Technique Part 3
John sat in an inn near the gathering every day this week more gardeners would try their luck and feast. As time went on the city became very lively. Cultivators aren't known for sightseeing, so there isn't a significant tourism market for them. Typically only a few would pass through at a time unless some heaven-defying object appeared.
Today was the final day of the examination, and once again, all the local establishments were filled to the brim. John and a few acquaintances he knew from his work had gathered. They'd managed to get a table after a painstaking wait and were now drinking heartily.
They talked about recent problems and local events since they came from friendly sects in the same area. Rick was particularly boisterous as he boasted about his identifying of the two common plants that had been displayed the other day. "HAHAHA, he bellowed. You should have seen their faces when I identified those plants. Most of them must be scam artists!" He laughed heartily. There were more than a few eyes filled with daggers now looking at their table.
A small woman with dark black hair and pitch black eyes dressed in a traditional Chinese robe. Her name was Liuxian though she had a strict upbringing she had long lost her dignified mannerism after her years of gardening. She gave a sidelong smirk to Rick and mocked, "Are you sure they weren't surprised that a gorilla was talking?"
"I don't have any beast blood in me midget!" Rick retorted with a bit of a slur. He was indeed a big man with a very distinct face. The type that would get him arrested even though he did nothing wrong.
Liuxian started slapping Rick's back while laughing hysterically. Her laugh didn't match her refined clothing sounding like a cackling hyena. After a few minutes of this, she finally calmed down and held up her glass. "Cheers to John winning the competition!"
"Cheers!" Rick joined in.
John frowned and shook his head, "Come on, you're going to get us in trouble."
Rick doesn't give in, "Stop acting, which of these idiots could beat your gardening knowledge. You're the only person I've met that takes the job seriously."
"That's right! If it were anything else I'd laugh in your face but if it's gardening who can compete? If you said you were the second most knowledgeable gardener no one would dare say they are first," Liuxian added proudly as if she was part of the achievement.
Just as John was about to reject them, a messenger walks into the restaurant. "Is there a John Oxylus here?" The messenger hollered over the clamor.
Liuxian gives John an I told you so look and laughs. She then jumps up on her chair and waves. "He's over here!" she yelled while wobbling unstably.
The messenger pushed through to John and looked at him. He looked down at a basic description of the man he was supposed to find and John. "Are you, John?"
"Yes," John replied.
"Please come with me," the messenger said.
John gets up with a frown they'd finally gotten a table, and now he had to leave. "I guess I'll have to cut our get together short," John said as he took his leave.
Rick yelled after him, "Don't worry, we'll drink your fill!"
"Try not to die!" Liuxian laughed while still wobbling on her chair.
John and the messenger made their way back to the somewhat renowned establishment.
Falcon was sitting at a round table with four others. They all gave off a sense of overwhelming strength. All far above John in might. Falcon smiled and waves for John to sit at the other end. "Join us, friend."
John swallowed and gathered his courage as he takes his seat. As soon as John's butt touched the chair the man on the far right scoffed. He had oversized armor that made him look twice as big but made his head look two sizes too small for his body. "Falcon, is this a joke? This man will die by even the weakest creatures in the area."
Falcon had already expected this complaint, so he reminded, "We already discussed this. If we want a knowledgeable gardener, we'd have to sacrifice strength."
A woman on the left added, "If you don't think you can protect one man, you can just return home." She had dirty blond hair and armor a bird emblazoned on her chest that expertly blended in with her curves.
The other two men had equally garish outfits causing John to fear for his life. "If you'd like me to identify any more plants I'd be happy to. There's no reason to burden your self by taking me on the expedition. I'll just take spirit stones as compensation," John negotiated graciously.
Falcon shook his head. "That won't do. I promised to take along the best candidate, and I won't go back on my word," he explained magnanimously, "also we need you for any new plant-related problems we may run into."
'No, don't act like your helping,' John cursed to himself. "Look I didn't want to be rude, but those plants aren't unheard of by any means. Are you sure that you didn't look through the common books because your gardeners were too dumb to identify them?" John accused while leaning forward on the table.
On the other side of the table the five looked a bit awkward. This was indeed the case. Still Falcon recovered quickly and replied, "Even if that's true wouldn't an expert on the subject be more useful then a book?"
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John felt like he swallowed a bug but at this point what could he do? "Well if you insist I have no choice. But I have no fighting power and limited range of techniques," John gave in.
"That's to be expected of a gardener. There's no need to worry you'll be safe. We'll be leaving for the tomb tomorrow morning. Please prepare whatever you think is necessary."
John left the hall while cursing his luck. Why did he have to get so fired up over gardening all the time? He should have through the test. "Damn it." 'prepare whatever is necessary? Does he mean my will?' John continued to complain to himself as the night quickly passed.
The next morning they left for the crypt. It took them three weeks to reach the destination far into a dark forest. They entered a cave giving off an ominous feeling. A stream ran along the cave entrance causing it to be damp and murky. 'This is exactly the type of atmosphere for those plant's they'd shown,' John thinks to himself.
Falcon grabbed John by the shoulder and said, "This is your time to shine. This cave is full of dangerous plants."
"He better be worth it. We took twice as long dragging him along," the man in the oversized armor complained.
John rubbed his neck with frustration. "Don't expect too much," he sighed.