Charlie awoke to find Bear cuddled up beside him on the floor, snoring a soft doggy snore and occasionally kicking his front paws as if he were chasing something in a dream. Charlie smiled and gave the dog a scratch between its ears. Bear awoke and turned his head to lick Charlie’s face. Charlie turned over to look out the window.
“GAH!” he screamed as he saw Milo kneeling in the window, staring down from the blinds. “Why!?”
“Just making sure you’re still here,” said Milo, his voice muffled by the window’s glass. He jumped up the wall, disappearing from sight.
“That man has serious issues.” Charlie got out of bed, showered and dressed before he and Bear headed out. Before leaving, he found a note slid under the door in frenzied handwriting.
Come see me when you have a moment. New seeds!
He placed the note in his pocket but decided to stop by Magda’s apartment before going up to Harriet’s to see if she could tell him anything about the bags of monster parts they’d gotten from the catacombs.
“Got something to sell ol’ Magda?” the woman bellowed as she welcomed him into her home. They walked to the room with the antique cash register as Charlie opened the backpack and pulled out one of the bags. “Well put it on the register and let’s have a see.”
He did as he was told and within seconds, the register popped open, offering him $50.
“Looks like your monster bits are worth some cash,” she said.
“I guess that’s good since I don’t know what else to use them for,” he said. He decided to sell half of his share of the monster parts and keep the other half in case he suddenly learned a creation that required several bundles of monster parts. He placed the cash into his backpack and thanked Magda.
“Don’t thank me,” she said. “It was a pleasure doing business with you, and I think I know just the person who will love these monster parts,” she said with a wink. Charlie did not want to meet the person who purchased monster parts, but she assured him he wouldn’t as long as he stayed off Wall Street.
Next, he and Bear headed up to see Harriet.
“Hello dear,” she said, sweeping the door open. “And who might this fine upstanding gentleman be?” she asked, noticing Bear.
“This is Bear,” said Charlie. “I found him on the roof and now he’s living with me.”
“Well he is a dashing fellow,” said Harriet as she bent down to give him a head scratch which he very much appreciated.
“You said you had some new seeds?” asked Charlie.
“Oh yes,” exclaimed Harriet. “Come, come.” They moved into the room with the apothecary cabinet and Charlie was surprised to find that the cabinet now had drawings on three more drawers: Carrots, Radishes and Green Beans.
“When did this happen?” asked Charlie.
“Oh last night. I imagine it’s due to the seeds I gave you growing, so I wanted to thank you in person.” She gave him a hearty hug. “And of course, I’d love it if you tried planting some of these new ones as well, but, hmm…” she trailed off, fiddling with her thumbs.
“What is it?” asked Charlie.
“The thing is, I can’t just go on giving seeds away. I’m on a fixed income you know. I know it’s a lot to ask, but if you want more seeds, I will need to charge you.”
“Oh, I totally understand,” said Charlie, realizing, again, that he had very much been relying on the kindness of strangers in this building. Obviously they too needed to make ends meet in order to survive. He smiled at her, hoping to calm her nerves. “I’d be happy to purchase seeds from you.”
“Really? You don’t mind?” she asked.
“Of course not. Besides, hopefully the more things I grow, the more seeds you’ll have to offer. Win win,” said Charlie. Along with eating what he grew, he might also be able to sell the finished produce to Magda and even turn a profit eventually. It only made sense that he’d have to pay for the seeds. Though he also made a mental note to share some of the fully grown vegetables from the first batch with Harriet when the time came to pick them as a way of thanking her.
He requested an assortment of all five seeds, the three new ones as well as the two that had been available the first time he’d visited Harriet. All of these came to a meager $20 which he was more than happy to hand over after selling off some of the monster parts. Harriet placed each of the seeds in their own individual pouches before thanking him profusely and sending him on his way.
He and Bear ascended the elevator to the roof. To his enormous surprise, the lettuce and tomatoes had grown even more. There was no way that vegetables grew this fast normally but now the leaves of the lettuce had grown much larger, and the tomato plants had grown a full stock and several leafy shoots. If he didn’t know better, he’d say that both would be ready to pick in another day or two. Which was insane when you really thought about it.
“Looks like we’ve got a bit of work ahead of us, Bear,” he said. He wanted very much to plant the new seeds as well as build them their own fenced in plots. But this would mean clearing out more land for planting the seeds, watering them, and then building the fences, which would of course require more wood.
He decided to take this large list of tasks one at a time. First he went into the forest and gathered some water in his watering can. He then watered the lettuce and tomatoes which had dried up overnight. With this out of the way, he decided the next thing would be to clear new areas for the plots. For this, he would use the scythe. He knew he could potentially reinforce his scythe with copper, but he had very little copper to spare after the catacombs journey, and wanted to save it for his axe, as cutting down trees had proven to be the hardest form of gathering resources for him and he wanted any help he could get in that department.
He used the scythe to clear a large area of land next to the existing plots. He then also cleared some area behind the already planted tomatoes and lettuce, where he would plant the new seeds.
Next up was the hoe, which he used to create new mounds for the seeds. As he created these mounds, he sprinkled seeds on them, and then buried them. Pretty soon he had five separate little gardens for five separate vegetables. In very little time at all, he had become a regular gardener. He watered all of them, which took two more trips to the spring in the woods, and tested his theory that the backpack may be just as good at collecting things as it was at launching them or creating them. He was right. He collected the “fence” he built on the backside of the tomato and lettuce plants. He had thought this might be possible since the backpack seemed to be just as good at sucking things up as it was at creating things. He aimed the backpack at the first of the fences and visualized it returning to the bag. Just like that, the fence pulled itself free of the ground and re-entered the bag. He did this with each of the backside fences and then used them, and a bit more wood, to extend the fence so that it surrounded the now larger area where he’d planted the new tomatoes and lettuce.
With this done, he was now running very low on wood, so it was finally time to cut down a couple more trees. He selected the creation upgrade for copper axe from his backpack.
Copper Axe – Upgrades a Basic Axe
– 1 Basic Axe
– 5 Smelted Copper
He selected the upgrade but was instantly greeted by an error message.
Error: Missing Ingredient
5 Smelted Copper
But that didn’t make sense. He definitely had copper in his bag. He tried again but got the same message, and that was when he noticed the problem. The upgrade required smelted copper.
“How do I smelt copper?” he asked himself. Bear was lazily basking in the sunlight on the green grass and perked up at the sound of his voice. Charlie wasn’t even sure he fully knew what the word smelt meant. But if there was one thing he had learned, it was that most of what he needed could be found within Darkmoon Drive’s walls. He decided it was time to take a break and go ask Juno if she knew anyone who could help him out. After all, he hadn’t met nearly everyone yet, even if Juno was dead set on him doing so.
“Come on, Bear,” he said. Together they headed for the elevator and made their way down to the second floor.
Nothing big to report here. I’ve been suffering through having Covid this past week, but I’m happy that I felt well enough today to get this chapter posted. Hope you are all doing well!