Episode 45: The Terrible Tale of Carrotus Maximus - Part Three
Lunarfall: Shadowmoon Valley
Fiona was already waiting for me when my gryphon touched down in the garrison. Tessa was right behind her and she was looking as terrified as ever. I moved over to them and, without saying a word, uncovered the magical frogs that I had brought back to camp with me.
"Oh, you found them?" Fiona asked with surprise in her voice.
"You might say that," I responded. "We found each other is the more honest response."
"Regardless," she said, snatching the frogs away from me. "We have what we need to rid our garden of that horrible little elemental beast."
A thundering blast echoed beyond the garrison walls and I nearly jumped out of his skin. "What was that?"
"That would be Iliera," Fiona responded. "She's been prepping our artillery core all morning. I have a strong feeling she wants to burn Highmaul to the ground more than anyone else on this world."
"Well, I'm glad she is keeping busy."
"Come along, Sepher. We need to put an end to this."
Not far from the gryphon the herb garden was in complete shambles. The elemental, named Carrotus Maximus by one of the other gardeners, was now tearing up the last of the frost weed that had been planted a few days prior. All of the herbs here were grown with magical enchantments that allowed them to grow faster for use in battle potions and healing tonics. The damage the carrot was doing could easily be undone, if the carrot could be dealt with first.
I started by walking directly into the garden, but Tessa practically tackled me before I could approach the creature. "Don't go any closer," she said through clenched teeth. "My assistant got too close and that carrot nearly took his arm off!"
"Well we're gonna have to get in there somehow," I snapped back. "The frog has to touch the carrot, right?"
"It's a little more complicated than that," Fiona replied. "You're going to have to weaken the carrot... keep it distracted long enough for the frog to get in close."
"You want me to fight a carrot?"
"You can't kill it," Fiona replied. "I assure you we already tried."
"You tried? What happened?"
"It devoured the soldier's life energy."
Fiona shook her head. "He got too close. That's why I need you to get in there. You can damage it and keep it occupied so that the frog can get close without meeting the same fate."
"Nope, wait a second, the carrot killed someone?"
"Not exactly. It just aged him... several years."
"I'm not feeling this," I replied. "Maybe we can just make it a garrison mascot or something?"
"Be serious, General!" Tessa whimpered. "We've got to kill that thing!"
I gave a heavy sigh. "Fine. I'll go risk my life so we can kill this carrot. I assume you can handle the frog part?"
"Oh yeah, I've got that part, no problem."
As Fiona moved into a more hidden position, I flanked the elemental creature in the garden with a level of openness that would force its hand. Too much stealth and it might have suspected a trap, but just the right amount of sneaking and the creature likely thought it had the upper hand for an upcoming battle.
It was rather creepy to be looking at an enormous carrot monster. It stood only to about my chest, but stood on the thin end and sported two terrifying black eyes that seemed to take in its surroundings very well. So far it hadn't ventured out of the garden. From what I knew of elementals, they were bound to objects that already existed, so it was likely that the creature had claimed a normal carrot and mutated it with elemental energy. Cutting the monster would simply cut through the carrot. It was because of this that killing rock elementals was a difficult task.
The closer I got to the creature the more it seemed to focus on me. It didn't move toward me with any aggression, but it stopped pilfering a nearby row of herbs as I approached. As it turned to face me, it turned away from Fiona and I took a quick second to glance at my surroundings. I didn't know anything about this creature, but if it could suck my life away I didn't want to get close.
The first attack was simple enough, I tossed a frost bolt at the creature, freezing part of its carrot body and hopefully blinding one of those beady black eyes. The carrot responded with a noise, but to describe it with words would be difficult. It was totally unique and completely unnerving.
At first the carrot didn't move. Despite it's protest, I fired off several more bolts of frost before it decided it was time to retaliate. The creature sprouted green leaves from its sides and fanned out to create horrible leaf appendages. The carrot reached out and a green vine snapped forward straight for me. I sidestepped the attack in time to dodge, but the vine moved quickly and snared my boot. The boot suddenly started to grow stiff and the cloth became dry and frayed. I slipped my foot free as the cloth covering shed away. The boot had been turned to dust from rapid aging.
I tapped into my power of fire and scorched the vine so that it retreated. In this moment of freedom I looked to Fiona and saw that a magical frog had been released, slowly hopping out toward the carrot monster.
Another vine came at his face and I burned that too, adding enough frost to freeze it in place on the ground. The carrot pulled several times and realized one of it's appendages was pinned. The original burnt vine came sweeping across the garden and I repeated the process, freezing it to the ground. Seeing that the creature was seemingly defenseless, I crafted an ice lance and speared the monster right through the middle of its carrot body. The force of the attack knocked the carrot backward, breaking the vines free from the ground. As the animal tumbled the vines whipped around to stop the fall and one of them landed directly on the frog.
With the same magical power that had nearly destroyed Highpass, the elemental carrot was suddenly transformed into a frog. It sat on the ground for a moment and everyone in the garden was silent.
"Get it now!" Fiona shouted.
I looked to her, then to the frog. "It's helpless now," I replied. "I can't just kill it."
"Well you can't touch it either," Fionia replied as she pointed to the ground. "It's a frog, but its power to drain life appears intact."
I followed her finger and found only a dust pile where the magical frog had been moments before. I turned to the now transformed frog and wrapped it inside an ice block. Taking a gardening glove from Tessa, I dropped it on the cube and waited for it to fall apart. When it remained intact I determined I was satisfied and picked up the ice cube with a look to Fiona.
"I'd say that we've got the problem contained."
"We should kill it," she responded. "That thing is dangerous."
"It's no different from any other poisonous reptile at this point," I countered. "We don't touch it and it won't hurt us."
"What do you recommend we do with it?"
"Drop it in a Horde camp?" I asked jokingly.
Fiona growled. I bit my tongue. I forgot one of Fiona's traveling buddies had been a blood elf. She hadn't joined his forces to fight the old war. She'd come to prevent a new one from breaking out.
"How about you keep it here?" I proposed. "We can put it in a cage and you can study it like you've been studying the other animals on this world."
"Well, now that's actually a solid idea," Fiona replied. "Maybe I can figure out how it's life draining magic works. I dare say that could help us fight against the Iron Horde!"
As the worgen woman scurried off with her new frozen pet, I turned to Tessa. She was already at work trying to save whatever herbs the magical carrot had failed to demolish during its time in the garden.
"Do you think you can get things up and running soon?" I asked.
"Of course, General," she replied. "I can have things back to normal in no time at all. If we work hard we can still have you stocked up with medicine and potions for your assault against Highmaul."
"That's wonderful news," I replied. "I can't thank you enough, Tessa. Your hard work here is greatly appreciated."
"I'm just glad I can help. If you hadn't saved me back in Kalimdor, I wouldn't be alive right now."
I smiled. I knew I wasn't the only one to thank for that. If the bronze dragon hadn't saved me from the underwater cave, I would have never met Tessa. None of this would have come to pass if it hadn't been for that one change to a broken timeline.
"Trust me, Tessa," I said honestly. "I am glad that we're all here together."