Farmer Mage

Chapter 36: Beautiful
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Chapter 36: Beautiful

Cal had the rake in hand as he practically floated with excitement into his field. He was entirely focused on the dirt patch that would finally go through the first step of the repair process.

Drex didn’t say anything specific about how much loam I should use. It will be better to use more rather than less. It is fairly cheap, so if I use too much, it won’t be a burden… even in my poverty-stricken state—

He noticed something in the corner of his eye.

Cal turned to see two workers with their arms around a large object covered with a soft cover—frozen and staring at him with shock. He had forgotten about them altogether.

His eyes darted around, and he was happy that Tavia was nowhere to be found. She was doing something inside and was still unaware he had arrived.

I can get some work in before I have to look at paintings or whatever it is that she bought.

Cal turned away from the workers—to their relief—and happily went to the stacked loam. There had to be hundreds of them stacked in a cube. With Drex having mentioned it might be necessary to spread the loam on the dirt patch multiple times, he estimated that around a hundred tubs of loam needed to be used on a single run.

He set the rake on his shoulder and casually lifted the tub from the top layer of the stack. It was fairly easy for the mortals to move this around with some help, which meant it felt as light as air to him.

Cal walked to the edge of the dirt patch and turned the tub over, shaking it slightly as he moved it over a tiny area. After the tub was emptied of loam, there was a pile on the dirt patch that needed to be raked over.

He tossed the tub to the side and put the rake to use. The tines dug into the dirt underneath the piled loam. He spread the loam into an even layer—around five inches tall—over the small areas that couldn’t be much more than five or six square feet.

You have gained [Uncommon Rake] as equipment.

Cal glanced at the interface and dismissed it.

Using the rake made him realize something that could become annoying very quickly.

The tines are a little too long and reach a little too deep into the dirt. The plow is the only one with a comparable depth when in use, but it is nowhere near as flimsy. If my theory of the dirt being the leading cause of my equipment degradation is correct, the rake will fail quickly.

Cal left the dirt patch to grab another tub and repeated the process. He turned it over to empty it of loam, then raked the pile to even it out.

By the time he grabbed the fifth tub, he could feel himself falling into the familiar trance. Cal didn’t fight and eagerly fell into it.

The stacked loam was slowly being depleted as the minutes passed. It didn’t take Cal more than a minute or two for him to use up a tub, so after two hours, the stack had been depleted by nearly a third.

Cal wasn’t aware of that, though. He happily raked the loam flat over the dirt and would have continued until the finish if not for the interface.

[Uncommon Rake] has degraded to Good Quality.

He froze in the middle of his all-important raking.

It couldn’t have nearly enough use for this.

[Uncommon Rake: Good Quality] Upgrade: 94/900 Tasks

Cal frowned as he stared at the tasks finished.

His guess that the rake would experience faster degradation didn’t account for something this quick.

I need to commission more rakes from Orrin. A lot more.

“Cal! Are you finally done?”

He twitched at hearing Tavia’s unexpected voice. He turned to see her perched on her carriage, elbows on her legs and hands supporting her head as she stared at him. The carts that had brought the interior furnishings were gone.

How long has she been there?

“Almost! Give me a few more minutes!” Cal yelled back the reply. He saw her head lower slightly into her hands—not in disappointment, but more to settle in and relax. He couldn’t really understand why she wanted to watch.

The sun is setting. After I water the loam, Drex said I should leave it be for half a day. It’s perfect timing. I can start step two when I wake tomorrow… wait, I need those tubs I commissioned from Orrin for that.

Cal glanced at the tree line before he went over to the loam stack to grab another tub.

I told Seris I would head to town after sunset to get the finished commissions.

He shook his head and returned to the dirt patch.

I’ll head there in the morning. Orrin is occupied with the shovel right now.

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Cal finished applying the loam to the remaining dirt patch in five minutes, using three more tubs in the process.

He stepped back and felt a sense of pride and his small accomplishment. The loam shimmered slightly with its natural glow due to the type of fungus mixed in, making it look like tiny crystals were scattered around unevenly.

Funny, since the next step involves powdered crystals.

“Are you done now?!” Tavia yelled from afar, bringing Cal out of his appreciation state.

Instead of answering, he lifted his arm to point his hand above the dirt patch and cast [Rainfall].

Cal watched the mana rush out of his palms and gather above the dirt patch. It quickly formed stormy clouds before rain fell to water the loam. It was effortless for him to cast [Rainfall].

I don’t need to worry about the enormous mana cost since I don’t have to ration it. I’m not in a life-or-death battle where every bit matters. I’m farming, where time isn’t a factor I need to consider. I can wait without worry for thirty minutes to recover mana.

The rain stopped, and the loam’s shine disappeared after it absorbed water. He glanced around as if he would find something different, finding the finish a little anticlimactic.

Cal tore his eyes away and turned to the waiting Tavia. He let out a little sigh of resignation. He walked toward her, ready to ooh and aah at the color of the furnishings and how well everything matched together.

I think that’s what I’m supposed to do. The Initiates I saw chasing after an Elder’s granddaughter did something similar… though it felt wrong to me for some reason.

He resolved to tone down his sheer disinterest in the furnishings without sounding disingenuous. Tavia wasn’t stupid and would quickly figure he was exaggerating.

“Finished?” Tavia hopped off her carriage.

It was a rhetorical question, but Cal answered anyway. “Finished.”

“You can cast that spell like you have months of experience,” Tavia commented as she led them into the house.

Cal hummed in agreement. “It would be more impressive if it wasn’t mostly harmless.”

Tavia raised an eyebrow at him, silently telling him that his nonchalance wasn’t being taken at face value.

“So,” Cal cleared his throat, “let’s see what you did to the house.”

“Hm, you could sound more excited,” Tavia opened the front door to reveal… a monstrosity.

It took everything he had to avoid looking taken aback. He tried to recall what he had glimpsed on the carts, but nothing he remembered looked this hideous.

Unless it only looked good individually.

“Good, right?” Tavia asked brightly. “I picked the colors that would best match together. Spent an entire day on it, actually.”

“… Wow. What did Miren say when you ordered these?” Cal wondered if it would be worth spending some time to correct this insult to his eyes. Everything contrasted so harshly that it was a chore to look at.

“She wasn’t available, but Torin took my order. He was impressed by my selection,” Tavia said proudly.

That man definitely knew. This has to be retaliation against me.

Cal nodded with an amazed expression. Tavia would think this was due to how good it was, which was not true. He didn’t realize it was possible to design something this clashing.

The couch, paintings, rug, and the miscellaneous decorations that littered the living room had no business being in the same house, let alone the same room. Worse, they were set in a way that brought out the worst qualities.

Red and pink decorations beside each other. Yellow and bright green in another corner. Brown and purple in another. The red couch was the worst offender, bringing all the terribleness together.

… What does my bedroom look like?

Cal stiffened as he started imagining the same awfulness in his room.

“Let me show you to the workshop! I added shelves to one wall—”

He tuned her out and watched her walk down the hallway that led to the workshop and storage room. He glanced at the door to his bedroom and couldn’t stop himself.

Cal switched directions and gingerly opened the door, fully expecting to see a vomit-inducing combination of colors spewed around his room.

Oh, thank the gods!

His shoulders slumped in relief when he saw primarily white, with a bedside table and bed frame in muted colors. Of course, they were not the same color, being different shades of pale green, but nothing would hurt his eyes.

I never thought I would care about aesthetics, but here I am.

Cal entered his bedroom and noticed the bedding was the same one he had used for years.

Good, I prefer it like this.

He sat on the bed before lying down, nodding to himself at the comfort. It was adequate. He was suddenly accepting of the rest of the ‘decorations’ Tavia had picked.

She hadn’t messed up with the only place he could see himself using for any significant amount of time.

“Couldn’t wait to see your bedroom, could you?” Tavia chuckled from the doorway.

He tilted his head up to see her smiling at him. He returned the smile warily, carving an unforgettable note in his mind to never allow her to choose any decorations again.

“I like it,” Cal somehow said with a steady voice. “Are all the rooms like this?”

“More or less. It fits well with the bold living room, right?”

He debated if it was worth being honest, but that debate was short. He only had to think of the extra time wasted and even mortals visiting his field for helping with the setup.

“It does. You were showing me the workshop. Let’s check it out.”

Cal followed Tavia and avoided looking at the harshly-colored living room.

Perhaps I’m being too critical. The one positive is that the living room no longer looks as cavernous as before. It’s around twice the size of the dirt patch I’m cultivating, but it no longer seems that large.

They stepped into the workshop, and the starlit marble flooring mocked Cal by simply existing. He tried to ignore it—a difficult task given its unique appearance—and looked at the additions to the workshop.

Another room that hasn’t been ruined.

There was only one addition he could see: the shelves. And they weren’t painted in an obnoxious color. It was in a natural wood stain that was pleasing to his eyes.

“What do you think of everything?” Tavia asked with expectation.

“Not bad,” Cal replied vaguely. “Where did you get the idea for your picks?”

“I just have a taste for good designs,” Tavia bragged.

“Hm.” Cal’s noncommittal responses clearly had no effect on her confidence.

“I need to make a quick trip to Lumina to pick up some things. I could have gone before, but I didn’t realize I would be waiting for you for so long. I’ll be back!”

He watched the overexcited Tavia rush out of the workshop before he heard the horse whinny. It was only when the sound of the carriage wheels disappeared that he moved a muscle.

“This is still better than having the house empty,” Cal spoke that sentence out loud to let it sink into his mind. He still needed convincing.

He shook his head. It was done, and he was happy with the only part of the house he cared about. His time would be better spent testing his new abilities and upgrading some of the spare equipment Orrin had made for him.

Cal entered the storage room to give it the regular check he intended to make a habit of and froze.

There was a diminutive form dozing on top of the stacked powdered crystals.

“What are you doing, little beast?”

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