7 Late to the party!
Var thought: "George has been gone for the longest time; Sharp Claw should be back with him soon. I will take better care of him this time, so he won't think about the outside world. He has to be alright. I can't take another loss, what am I thinking? He is alright"
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While thinking of this a loud scream broke the silence of the night.
John added to the pressure on plants to boost the expansion speed of roots. Controlling such a complex and ever-growing network was extremely difficult, that was the reason for the continuous upgrade of the core. If the core was not developed, it would be similar to a toddler brain controlling an adult's body.
John had cultivated his core to an excessive degree, he would be able to easily control the daily operation of his clone, even if it doubled in size. He did not like to take chances with rebellion.
The fast enlargement put much strain on surrounding fields, so the plant exclusive mana was released. John inhaled all the incoming mana and used it to pass the walls into new fields; he did not stop though. Opportunities were hard to come by, he developed with the same speed, only focusing on the roots. Until he saw many, torch-like energy radiations, in a field filled with small lights.
The scream was followed by shouts warning all about predators. Var became anxious, she felt it would not be safe for her son to return at this location; she had not lost hope yet. Var started to rush towards the directions Sharp Claw and Lila had left, a shadow followed behind her.
Var thought: "I am being followed by a jackal; I can't lead it to my baby; I have to lose it. I have to lose it. Stay safe George, mom may not survive tonight"
In an attempt to mislead her pursuer, she made few sudden turns, until she reached a dead garden. Unfortunately for her, the jackal was on her tail; at that moment she heard a painful wail from behind. She turned only to find, many cones impaling the wretched jackal. Before she could feel any pity for the predator, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen, then all turned black. The last picture Var saw was George's sweet smile.
"I seem to be late to the party, but since the guests are leaving soon, I can use such a chance to pick them off individually"
That cursed night marked heavy casualties for rabbits and jackals; leaving both races regretting the outcome. John had been the sole winner of this incident, with the attained energy and results on many imprints, he now had the confidence in his second evolution. He had fed many imprints to his mana symbol.
Connecting to the system via his clone, he asked: "What are my options for second evolution?"
[As a Lily you can:
1. Increase the poison's effect
2. Become a spiritual plant
3. Vampire vine
4. Flesh-eating plant]
"It is still as insincere as before with providing information, since there is not much life to be devoured options 3 and 4 are not as useful. I can make the poison stronger without any assistance from a third party. So, the only remaining option is 1, I am quite curious to see the difference between regular and spiritual plants" John thought to himself.
Instructing his clone, he conveyed: "Option number 2"
[Becoming a spiritual plant chosen …]
John did not listen to the transmission, as the process had started, so he needed to hide not to be influenced.
Looking at the results, John became flabbergasted. The symbol was larger and shinier than ever, there was also a strong presence of mana within each cell. As if the clone was producing mana from the nutrition it received, this mana was very pure and had no instruction within itself; unlike the surrounding mana, which targeted reproduction speed.
John assessed: "This mana is special to me, it explains why characters in cultivation novels have to use alchemy, neutralizing this effect for more efficient consumption. The overall effects are quite decent, and for my biggest harvest, I can now start experimenting on the clone's imprint. It is time for me to lay low again. Once the research is done, I'll get a solid foundation"
Time can heal all had been a famous quote from Jonathan's past life; and indeed, it was true. After many weeks passing; rabbits devised warnings to remember their lost members by. 'Don't be a curious George' would turn into a very popular story amongst parents, to tell their children.
Plants started to flourish under external pressure and help, jackals and rabbits relocated after the night of bloodbath. All that remained as proof of such gloomy night was a few white flowers shaped as bells surrounded by black soil. Akin to a king, high upon the throne; it was hard to imagine such a fragile plant was responsible for such destruction.
John had used this time to slowly grow branches, he now completely controlled 49 squares.
"System, can I upgrade?" John relayed via his clone.
[Negative, this section is devised for the consumption of small animals, for any transformation above the spiritual plant, authorization from the mainframe is needed]
He thought: "As previously hypothesized, the system directly controls growth; well I have stabilized my core and finished my research in controlling simple mana symbols. Now with my abilities, I can directly control most species of animals and plants; depending on spiritual awareness a human may also be available"
After the second evolution, his clone had started to show signs of awareness; which was ruthlessly experimented on, by John.
As a biochemical engineer, he specialized in plants. However, he had vast knowledge and experience in the genetics of other life forms.
Plants had many limitations, amongst them mobility and weakness towards fire were prominent. John could grow from his starting point, controlling a jungle. Yet that method would not serve as a solution to any limitations, so he had formed a plan to explore this dungeon for the best starting point while gathering data. Any plant would die, if not in proper habitat; and John was not planning to be pushed around.
As a highly cultivated core, he now had the ability to survive most attacks; devour any energy within a 5-meter radius. Also, he was able to control the brain, by studying mana imprints within many plants and animals hunted.
Now he simply needed to find the prime species to embed himself in!
Learning the story of Curious George had led to many nightmares for little Jill, so she barely visited outside. This outcome first made her parents very glad, but after she refused to be far from them, they started to be anxious. Today had been a special day since Jill was instructed to visit her older brother in his expedition. Heading towards her brother, she felt a sting and lost consciousness.
If her parents were present, they would be shocked, because she was being carried by some roots.
"This rabbit is young, easier to control and grow. Now to sabotage evidence, initiating self-destruct"
John thought, before forcing the clone to consume itself, gathering all the energy within its mana symbol. The mark beamed brighter than ever, but due to excess energy, soon it started to show signs of instability. Cracks formed in the surface, emitting pure mana, which was consumed by John, who devoured the extra amount and eased the burden on the imprint.
"Now that we know the amount needed to break the symbol, this sample has lost all value. Time to devour all of its life energy"
Just before he completely drains the clone, he used a small branch to implant himself in the young rabbit's brain. Staying connected to the branch, John started to devour his clone.
Small bell-shaped flowers fell to the ground one by one, the stems started to lose their green. Karma was in full effect at this moment!
John digested the entire energy of his clone, then consumed the cracked mark. All this energy helped him in upgrading the core few times.
The oppressor of these fields seized to exist! The only reminder of the bloody history of this tyrant had been few stems, flowers and black soil amongst many corpses!
Opening his eyes as a rabbit John said: "This is a new body with different functions, but I believe learning its working should be simple. At least, I can see, hear and smell properly now, with the option to switch the vision to life energy and back. Now to see the difference in the system"
John relayed to the mark via the rabbit's brain: "System show my evolution options"