A Farmer's Troubles, Book 1 Changing Times

Book 1 Chapter 2-Farmtown

Chapter 2- Day 7 of the Bloody Return

Well…. That went about as well as I should have expected it to go. I suppose the fact that I had prepared gardens of the system’s ‘quick growing’ ingredients, which are used to make the health potion that comes with the recipie book, was a good thing, because some of those bastards are strong! I suppose I should explain how the battles went as best I can. Or, I could just narrate this video, courtesy of the nifty ‘battle overview’. It gives a useful video of the quest from a third person view, allowing me to be objective in my battle description. So, here goes my best narration of the quest experience:

After I woke up, I gathered the sword that came with my class choice and the Fire Snake Cultivation Manual, and went to the roof of the farmhouse, to look for some ‘critters’, as the quest called them. Well, I found what looked like some kind of pigeon, that had a green tint to it. As I looked at the thing, a screen popped up, informing me that it was a ‘Wood Pigeon’, level 2. Now, the instant I saw it, I sliced my sword at it, enhancing the cut with a coating of fire, which was the most basic sword art in the Fire Snake Manual. The cut cleaved through the little fucker, but not before the shit cried out with a loud-ass voice, alerting some of the other pigeons on the roof. I ran towards the next one, but was tackled by another pigeon. It took my vitality down by 1, and started to peck at my face. I bent back to avoid the beak, and swung towards his side. The sword bit in, and it moved back from the swing. I got out and punched at its beak. After the punch, it fell down and started dissolving into the roof. I didn’t dwell on it that much, slashing towards an other pigeon going for my side. I missed, but got the bitch to back off. Seeing no other beast on the roof, I focused on the bird. I decided that charging at it was the best option, and charged. The bird seemed to agree, and charged at me as well. Right before we collided, I swung at it, using the sword like a bat, with one of the sharp sides facing towards it. As my swing connected, I had no trouble bisecting the bird. After the battle was over, I got some notices, that my experience had increased by 5 per bird, giving me a total of 30 exp. The other 15 was from the cultivation I did before going to bed at midnight. My cultivation method had also gained some experience, shortening the distance to the next level. Seeing that my experience was a third of the way to the next level, I may have gotten a little bit carried away. I suppose the pigeons were on the roof because they would have been eaten, had they stayed on the ground with the goblins roaming around the orchard. I, however, just thought that the roof was where they felt like hanging out. I got cocky, because the pigeons died so quickly and fell so easily. 

Next I looked out from my now monster-free roof, and spotted a tiny grey man holding a rod of iron, that I recognised as a goblin, despite the lack of the common green skin associated with goblins. Being drunk on my last victory, I figured that I could take some two-bit trash mob, and get my just reward. I got those just rewards, but not only for my glory, but I gained the rewards from my foolishness, and I can tell you that they were some very unpleasant rewards. I decided to meditate for a short amount of time, regaining the 5 units of qi that I had used (Note to self: Come up with a measurement for qi.) with my fire enhancement. As I meditated, I revolved the fire qi as if it were a serpent, alongside of some wood qi, which helps strengthen my qi, I noticed that there were three large groups of wood element qi surrounding me. I thought about what could have caused it, and suddenly the pigeons, which I remember were called “Wood Pigeons”. I remembered that, in many different xianxia stories, monster left behind cores, which held the concentrated powers, and separated them from ordinary beasts. I suppose that this system is one that has monster cores always present, because I have yet to see a monster without one. Now, to be fair I’ve only seen 7 living monsters, so take this info with a grain of salt. I could just be ridiculously lucky. But the simplest reason is the one that shall be seen as correct, and so they must all come with cores. After realizing this, I picked up the monster cores. I went back inside, putting the cores in the basement for further study, and then heading back upstairs, planing on finishing off the 4 monsters still hiding in my orchard.

Unfortunately, they had the same plan, well, the elimination part anyway. Seems like the screech of the pigeons alerted them just like it alerted the other birds. They were prepared for me, and I was not prepared for an ambush by ‘low level trash mobs’. Not the first time ego has fucked things up for me, and it will not likely be the last. Entering my orchard, I walked in a calm fashion, not paying nearly enough attention to my surroundings, which lead to some of my injuries. As I passed the fifth tree in said orchard, I heard a cry behind me. As I looked back, one of the grey goblins charged from behind a tree in the direction I was originally facing. Seems that the little grey fuckers had some intelligence, at least regarding battles. It got close enough, and I only saw it when I didn’t notice anything in the direction of the cry. As I turned, I was shocked by a goblin about one meter away from me, and pulled my sword in front of my chest, hoping to block the beast’s blow. I managed to direct the blow to my left arm, as I only used it to reinforce my blows. The blow made my arm make a cracking sound, and I am certain that the arm was at least cracked, if not broken. Releasing a curse, I stuck my qi enhanced sword at its side, cleaving through the goblin’s side with relative ease, likely due to my attribute trumping his. After this, I quickly spun, finding a goblin approaching from the back left of where I was facing the dead goblin. I immediately charged towards the beast, due to an uncontrolled anger at the impertinence of the beast who dared to trick and wound me. The rage seems to have come from both the fire element, which I believe increases my emotions, and my cultivation method, as snakes are treated as a form of royalty in certain ancient religions, and due to mythos that snakes can evolve into dragons, granting it a sense of superiority. Ignoring this tangent, I got within sword range, and swung with all of my rage. This swing seemed have stronger qi than normal, and generated a skill called [Rage Strike], that is greyed out on my screen. I have yet to succeed in replicating this blow, likely due to a lack of both rage and a sufficient target. Regardless, the beast was likewise cleaved in twain.

Having killed half their number seemed to have no effect on the remaining beasts, as the next one appeared ten meters to the southeast of me, near where the first goblin was slain. I repeated my charge, infusing some of my remaining qi into my legs as I did so. This granted me the skill [Flame Charge], which increases my speed by a factor of 1% multiplied by the qi I grant the skill. It also grants a small fire damage buff to my first attack after attacking, caused by the leftover fire qi sticking to my body. The qi must be resupplied once a minute, and while the amount can change, the speed buff changes along with it. The buff stays for 1x the qi last supplied minutes. As soon I got within striking distance once more, I swung my sword in a horizontal direction, killing the beast just like his fellows. As I tried to find the final beast, I felt a solid blow to my side. The beast had snuck up onto me, and struck when I was looking for him. The blow reduced me to 3 Vitality, and left me gasping. As I turned, I saw him at my right, preparing another blow. I was not going to let these little shits irk out a victory, no matter how phyric I could make it, so I swung the blade with all of the might left in my weakened body. Thankfully, the blow cleaved him twain, as it did to all other goblins. If you all are wondering about why this is being recorded on the 7th day, instead of the fifth, that would be because the healing potion I made put me in a healing coma for 2 days. I just woke up, and decided to write this entry.

However, not all was horrid. I am looking now at the quest rewards, and I must say they are quite useful. This is the message left after my victory, by the system:

Congratulations, Wea- I mean Richard! You have taken your 
first step towards dominance, no matter how pitiful this 
step can be seen. And wow was that pitiful. I mean, getting
hit by goblins? Goblins? And ones that hold an elemental 
weakness to you, no less! If you weren't a human, I'd have 
granted you half the rewards I promised, and went on my 
way! However, we must help you weaklings, so here are your 
undeserved rewards. May they grant you courage that you 
lack the strength to uphold.
Rewards: 'Lord' trait, 1 level, 3 wood cores and 
4 metal cores, Ownership of [---] Farm.

As I write this, I am busy reading into and experimenting with my rewards. The ‘Lord’ trait is quite the useful trait. It grants all beings who are friendly(No desire to kill) to me or my companions a 5% boost to cultivation(This includes me).  This buff is not permanently set to a 5% boost for ever, I can in fact increase the buff itself, and it seems like I can make this buff increase, and gain new buffs, like regen buffs or production buffs, both qualitative and quantitative. One other buff that came with the first level of the ‘Lord’ trait is that all plants growing within my territory grow at a 50% increased speed. This allows me to increase my production of food by half. Unfortunately, this has some drawbacks, namely being that it can’t increase, ever. If I get a buff that surpasses the 150% growth rate I have now, that will take over, but it only allows for it to be in effect, and cannot be affected by any other speed buff. Thankfully my ‘Farmer’ trait is a quantitative buff affecting total harvest. However, these drawbacks are worth the price, as the requirements for upgrading the ‘Lord’ trait is quite fierce. I need to find 10 people willing to follow me, make room for a total of 25 people, and hold a total of 10 square kilometers. Thankfully, my farm fulfils a tenth of that size requirement, and I have plenty of empty space surrounding me. No one in my vacinity has survived, and while that is a shame for humanity, it means that I can solo for quite some time now. I’m sure that eventually the city folk’ll head out to the country and find my farm, but I’ll be ready for them then.

One of the ways that I’ll be ready is through the ‘Lord’ trait, which allows me to upgrade any land I own in many different ways, assuming I have the materials required. For example, the first level walls, which would surround my 1 kilometer farm, costs 100 cubic meters of any material, be it wood, stone, or metal. I am able to make a wooden wall, thanks to the fact that I was planning on building a barn, and get some cattle, which would improve my profits, as I wouldn’t need to buy their feed, thanks to the wheat and apples. I apparently gathered around 250 cubic meters of wood,  so I figured it’d be a good idea to build the wall and get some defence, if some monster swarm happens. The wall is around 10 feet tall, with a area for ranged attackers to stand and fire at any enemy that would try and take the farm. It also boasts 5 defence and 100 durability. After choosing the wall, I decided that the other buildings I needed was a house, which can hold 5 people each, costs 10 cubic meters of wood, improves the cultivation(or class equivalent) of those inside it , and satisfy part of the upgrade requirements, and a Carpenter shop, for 100 pieces of wood. The carpenter shop allows for one to buy bows, arrows, furniture, and other wooden products. The real benefit of it was the skill that the owner of the shop can teach you, [Logging]. [Logging] allows humans to gather system approved lumber, which can be used to build a large amount of the buildings for land. The last thing I built was a quarry, which costs 40 pieces of wood to build, and allows for people to mine system approved stone and metals, after you buy the [Mining] skill. Unlike the wall, these buildings took time to build, so I’m planning on sleeping until they’re finished.

Oh, yeah! One more thing is the name of the farm! I decided to name it Fire Blossom Farm, due to my affinity and the fact that most farms have ‘Blossom’  in the name.

Good resting, may the blood spilled in battle be that of your enemies.

Richard Mills, Lord of Fire Blossom Farm

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A Farmer's Troubles, Book 1 Changing Times

Book 1, Chapter 1-The Bloody Return

Chapter 1, Day 3 of the Bloody Return

As I write this, I think back on what had occurred in the past 48 hours, when the exodus ended and hell itself opened its gates upon Earth, and found it unprepared. It wasn’t like there weren’t any signs, but who in this age would have believed any of them? Every other day there were new people waving different signs, all with the same basic message; “The end is coming, so prepare your souls!” S0, can you blame us for being surprised when the doomsayers were proven correct? It seems so ridiculous, what has been wrought upon this world by the return of the monsters. Before, if you said that the goblin outpost had gained a watchtower, you would be thought of as a lunatic. Now, the leaders of your group would thank you for the useful info. Heck, they might even grant you some extra meat for your meals, or a chance to enter the instance and gain some easy points.

Ah, I should explain what truly happened, so that some liars and egotistical pricks can’t lie and say that they were able to defeat all of the monsters that they faced. The truth was, we got destroyed, man got destroyed, and decimated would be a false term, as decimation means that we lost a tenth of the population. Now, I don’t yet know the total destruction caused to mankind’s numbers, but I know that it lost more than a tenth. Perhaps, when the gods returned, we had lost an eighth, but I know that these losses only ramped up with the influence of the gods’ return. After all, most people still alive saw the gods as benign beings who would not hesitate to save them, and went around fearless. This, was the greatest mistake that those people would make in their short, short lives. They were quickly slaughtered by the low-level monsters, which the gods couldn’t waste their time on. 

The gods were strong, to be sure, but the monsters were not weak, either. The gods were only able to do two things for man, which was the removal of the strongest monsters that dared to infest the cities and towns, and return the method our ancestors had used to fight the weaker monsters. This method is the so called ‘System’ that many stories had used to allow their protagonists great growth. However, the gods had miscalculated. Despite their warning, stating that the monsters were too strong for untrained mortals, many idiots thought that they would be able to be like these book protagonists, and defeat the monsters, gaining a head start. Now, I’m sure that there were some people, master martial artists, who had trained to the old limit of humanity, who were able to fight the monsters and gain some serious benefits, but most people were not able to do this. Now, the System  doesn’t only have the classic stat sheet that most people grant it. It also comes with a store, skill creation lab, recipe book that needs to be filled out by us, coming equipped with either a health potion or mana potion, depending on the path that best suites you. Another function that is useful is the notepad, which is where this ‘diary’ of sorts is being written. I am recording this in the hope that it could help someone else, and, if I manage to survive long enough for the gods and monsters to leave on yet another exodus, I hope my experiences would be helpful for another generation. 

Now that the background info is complete, I should introduce myself. My name is Richard Mills, 30 years old, and I live alone on in a small 1 km farm in Pennsylvania, with an apple orchard and a 10 acre field of wheat. I am one of the 5 people in a 100 km radius who were smart enough to train following the introduction of the System, granting me the skill ‘Training’. The Training skill, at novice level 1, grants a 5% increase to the growth of any of my attributes, while also granting me the ‘Trained Body’ trait, that makes debuffs 5% less effective. This bonus grows with my Training skill, granting me an excellent boost. Due to my past experience from the farm, I also have the ‘Farmer’ trait, allowing for any plant that I care for to survive in this apocalypse, and making the harvest 10% greater. Thankfully, the monsters have ignored my crops for now, as they are mostly carnivores. I suppose I should transcribe my status, if as nothing but a way to check my growth.

|Name: Richard Mills | Class: Cultivator | Experience: 0/100 | Level: Apprentice 1/20| |Strength: 12 | Vitality: 11/11 | Agility: 15 | Qi: 20/20 | Wisdom: 15 | Talent: 20| |Skills: Training, Cultivation, Fire Snake’s Blade | Affinity: Fire| |Traits: Trained Body, Farmer|

As I look at my status, I realize that I forgot to explain the class system, and the affinity system. First off, the class system grants the class that you have the best affinity to. It seems that I was best suited to be a cultivator. The affinity system aligns with the traditional five elements from China, with Fire supporting Earth, losing to Water, and defeating Metal; Metal supporting Water, losing to Fire, and defeating Wood; Wood supporting Fire, losing to Metal, and defeating Earth; Earth supporting Metal, losing to Wood, and defeating Water; and Water supporting Wood, losing to Earth, and defeating Fire. As far as I can tell, cultivators can choose which element they wish to align themselves to, gaining an evolving cultivation method that fits them. I gained the Fire Snake’s Blade method, which is an Agility focused Fire method that can evolve, when both it and I reach Apprentice level 20.

Ever since the re-entry of the Gods, I’ve been training in the basement gym that my dad used up to his 4th year of chemo, hoping to enhance my survival chances. I believe that soon I will have to exit my safe home and clear my farm. After all, the system even issued a quest for me to entice me into clearing the farm.

|Quest: Farmtown Tutorial|
Welcome, Partner, to your new farm out here in sunny PA! 
Unfortunately, before we can begin farming, we have to 
take care of these pesky monsters infest'n the farm!
I'd love to help ya, but ma hands are full dealing with
some far fiercer critters that'd love to eat your flesh.
|Goal: Clear the farm of all 1st level monsters 
blocking the progress of the farm.|
|Progress: 0/7|
|Reward: Ownership of [---] Farm, Lord trait, 
enough exp to increase level once, x2 loot 
from slain monsters|

The monster number used to be 10, but the strongest one decided that he was hungry, so the number dropped. Anyhow, I believe that this is good enough for today’s entry.

Sleep Well, and Pray for a bloodless exodus once more,

Richard Mills, Fire Snake Cultivator

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Book 1- Changing Times, Prologue

Prologue

In the beginning, mankind and its many gods had a working relationship. Man would provide worship, and armies of faith, and the gods would provide power and protection from the monsters humans could never hope to kill. However, something strange happened to both the gods and the monsters. They disappeared.

Now, this was not an unusual occurrence. The gods had disappeared before, and so had the monsters. However, these absences were always rather short, usually happening due to the birth of a strong monster or a new godling. Whatever the reason these disappearances had encouraging them before, they almost never happened at the same time. When the monsters would be away on these trips, which almost always lasted no more than a year or two, the humans would use this chance to get in some research or training that required little to no battles to further, such as agricultural advances, or letting the soldiers gain a better education than what they had before the peace times.

In contrast, the gods’ disappearance would spell a disaster greater than any other before it. For when the gods would leave, the strongest of the monsters were free to do as they pleased with those pitiful men who would dare the cross their paths. The monster hordes, no longer suppressed by man’s gods, would grow to unimaginable sizes, causing earthquakes wherever they chose to march, tornadoes wherever they chose to fly, and tsunamis wherever they chose to swim.

Thus, when the monsters disappeared, for they were the first to make their final disappearance, man celebrated! He rejoiced, for nothing about the absence of the monsters made any man suspicious, or fearful. Instead, it gave them hope, for any temporary exodus in the past had always granted man a large amount of benefits, whether these benefits were a stronger overall population, more domestic technologies, trump cards, or population growth, all of these were brought by the withdrawal of the monsters.

However, after an unspecified amount of time had passed from the monsters withdrawal, the gods also left the world of man, never to return. After noticing this absence, man grew worried, and decided to focus on increasing their power. However, man noticed that the power that the gods had gifted them was slowly disappearing from their planet weakening them and forcing them to learn new techniques. Man never forgot these beasts or their gods, but slowly, over generations, these records of battles and monsters became myths and legends, mere flights of fantasy. Instead of being used to inform the youth of man on the weaknesses of its oldest and strongest enemies, they were used to teach morals and grow imagination for younger beings.

Most would think this a wondrous result, one that all can benefit from. However, that only holds true if the monsters were to stay in exodus for eternity, which they did not. For man had weakened, despite the thought that technology can do everything, there is a limit for technology. And man will soon see that limit, for no exodus is permanent, and no return is bloodless.

-The message left for man in the temple of the first God of Man, Enki the Flame of Knowledge.

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