A/N: Hi, sorry for the long wait. The fic isn't dead. It's just that this year, as I'm sure everyone is aware of, has been hectic, to say the least. So from now on, I'll be making chapters shorter so you don't have to wait as long and to make it easier for me to write. Thanks to those who've read the previous chapters. Enjoy the newest installment!
After he and the vagabonds returned from their fruit-gathering affair, Shaman wasted no time making an effort to fulfill Tobe's request. Fortunately for him, the majority of the needed items were in his inventory. All that he needed was a cauldron and Ill Will's Ivy, the most vital ingredient. Getting a cauldron was no problem, a steel pot that he stole from town sufficed. But retrieving the ivy was a challenge, to say the least.
Ill Will's Ivy is considered to be like the complete opposite of an aphrodisiac. Instead of inciting desire, passion, and longing, in those who consume it, it inspires disgust, apathy, and loathing. It was located just beyond the outskirts of Sooga forest and grew on the side of a cliff that was extremely high. He knew that plucking this plant would be easier with the aid of his fellow vagabonds, but it would be easier for him to keep the job discreet if he gathered it on his own.
It wasn't long until night fell on Sooga Island.
Chief and Clown were sound asleep, swaddled in tattered sleeping bags and huddled by a dying campfire. Their snores indicated that they were in very deep sleep. That's when Shaman knew it was the perfect time to depart. He equipped himself with a satchel that contained some rusty pruning shears, worn gardening gloves, and a lengthy bunch of rotten rope. It was the best he could get with an empty wallet. With that, he set out to gather Ill Will's Ivy.
Throughout his journey, he couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched. He feared that it was a predator waiting for an opportunity to tear him to pieces. He muttered a little mantra to soothe himself, "There's nothing to fear but fear it's self", and persevered.
After hours of hiking, he finally made it to the very edge of the forest, and before him lay the top of the cliff. "I hope I made it to the right cliff." He carefully tiptoed just close enough to the edge that it would allow him to see below the surface. Below him danced the various leaves of lush green ivy in the midnight wind. He scanned the ivy more carefully to find small, dark red flowers, a signature of Ill Will's, swaying between them too. " Yes!" Shaman hissed in excitement. "I'm on a roll today!"
So he went to a tree that was nearest to the cliff's edge and tied one end of the rope firmly around its trunk. Then the other around his torso to use as a makeshift harness. Followed by putting on protective gardening gloves, so he wouldn't get a reaction from contacting the plant. Then made his way back to the cliff's edge.
He looked down the cliffside again, all the way to the bottom where the waves crashed violently against it. He felt heart his speed quicken, his muscles clench, and his feet soak in a cold sweat. His nerves were warning him. To silence all of those alarm bells going off in his head, he redirected his focus not on his likely death, but his reward and the things he'd purchase with it. "A hut, a new staff, and Goh-Rong's famous noodles." With his mind a bit a tease he progressed.
Slowly, he made his way down the cliffside with a firm grip on every stable thing he wrapped his fingers around. He traveled down the cliff until his rope harness would not allow him to. Then he spotted it, the closest flower, nearly within his reach. It was just below him. So he carefully traveled a little further down, against the rope's pull, until the flower was beneath his hand. "Perfect!" He snipped the flower from its vine and stuffed it in his satchel. "Now, I just need a few mo-" He heard a snap above him. The rope had given way. Then his body began to rapidly plummet. All he could do was scream.