It had taken nearly ten years for Barrett’s tree to start producing fruit. That was rather slow for most sorts of trees, but it clearly wasn’t a normal tree. Besides the fact that it had managed to grow from an ancient shrivelled fruit, it also preferred to break down and absorb rocks instead of just normal soil. Now that it was finally producing, Barrett could see it did indeed produce fruit that were like peaches… or nectarines. Some sort of pitted fruit, anyway.
The color was a swirl of oranges, reds, and yellows. As for the size… they were about the size of a fist, only slightly bigger than a normal peach. Barrett and Mistress Abels waited until the fruit actually fell from the tree before inspecting them in more detail, not wanting to interfere with their growth. They didn’t know what sort of magical properties the fruit might have. One thing that couldn’t be told before they fell off the tree… the fruit were heavy. More than a kilogram, in fact.
“As agreed, the first one is yours,” Mistress Abels gestured to Barrett, “Though looking at this tree, you’re liable to be able to get a few more.”
Barrett nodded. The tree still had another dozen fruits on it, beyond the handful that had already dropped. He had brought the seed, and the agreement was that Mistress Abels would raise the tree and Barrett would get the first fruit- even if there had only been one. The tree would belong to the sect, but if there were more Barrett would be entitled to a quarter of the fruits each production cycle. The rest of the fruits would be split between the sect and Mistress Abels, for both raising the tree and paying for the expenses incurred there.
Seeing that there were so many fruits, Barrett would get four in the end. More fruits seemed to be a good thing, but in actuality for many magical fruit trees the more fruit there was the less effective they were individually. As for what these particular fruits did, Barrett wasn’t sure. Even Mistress Abels didn’t know, though they could both sense earth magic from the fruits.
After they determined the fruits were safe to eat, Barrett decided to eat his first one. If the effects were short term… he might regret it later, but not that much. He would have more of them anyway.
The fruit was… hard to eat. It tasted just fine, but it was dense and sort of gritty. However, it was also juicy and sweet. The strange texture mixed with the flavor to produce an enjoyable but not exceptional experience. As for the effect… Barrett didn’t notice anything right away. In fact, as far as he could tell none of the magic of the fruit entered him. As he searched his body, he couldn’t find any of the magic on the fruit in his stomach or moving through him. Soon enough, the reason for that became obvious. “…the pit has all the magic,” Barrett held the pit with traces of fruit still clinging to it up to see it in better light.
“Hmm, indeed.” Mistress Abels nodded, looking at the pit. “It seems to have most or all of the magical properties.”
“Should I eat it?” Barrett asked, then shook his head. “It would probably be… very bad for digestion. This thing is… dense.” He held out the pit, about the same size as a normal peach’s pit, feeling its weight. It was just under a kilogram, weighing more than all of the fleshy part of the fruit. In addition, it was a stony grey color, like an actual rock. Then again, maybe it was a rock. While the pits of nectarines and peaches were called stones, this one actually seemed to be stone. Barrett concentrated, then watched the pit roll around on his outstretched palm. “… it responds easily to earth magic.” Barrett tried the same with one of the other stones lying around the orchard, just to be sure. A stone of similar size was much lighter and took similar amounts of effort to move with magic. Barrett tossed it up and down in his hand a couple times, then made a throwing motion towards Mistress Abels, “Maybe they could be weapons?”
While Barrett had been musing, she had eaten the second fruit so she could have a pit of her own to experiment with. “Maybe. It’s also possible all that magic is just… so that it can grow another tree quickly. That’s all most trees are interested in, after all.”
“That doesn’t sound that amazing. Then again, what do I expect from a ghost who lost most of his memories…” Barrett was disappointed after waiting 10 years for seemingly nothing.
“It’s possible he didn’t intend to deceive you… in fact, it is amazing, isn’t it? A tree that absorbs rocks into itself and produces dense stone? Besides, even if they aren’t meant to be weapons, you can definitely use the pits that way.”
“Right…” Barrett looked at the pit, rolling it around in his hand. The strange density of it felt strange as it moved, and almost… Barrett turned his hand over and the pit fell to the ground. He picked it back up out of the slight impression it left in the dirt- it wasn’t so insanely heavy as to do more than that. “Is there such a thing as… living stone? I’ve heard about living metal.”
Mistress Abels shrugged, “I don’t know that much about it… but I’m involved in the more practical side of earth magic anyway. Though if I were to say it… it’s clearly stone, and does appear to be as a live as the rest of the tree.”
“Hmm,” Barrett looked at the pit, once again turning his hand over. Once again, it slid off and fell to the ground. “Either it’s not living stone, or I don’t know how to make it work.” He used a touch of earth magic to pull it back up into his hand. “Still, could be useful.”
“Indeed,” Mistress Abels looked at the pit in her hand, “I’m tempted to plant more of them… we’ll see what the sect wants done with their portion.”
“Right. Well, I’m going to go see Master Alnherr. Maybe he’ll be able to tell if this is living stone… or if it even exists.”