The garden was one of the few places that alchemist trainees could go to refresh their mind and body. Many researchers said that putting them in an environment like they were in without seeing nature could be detrimental to physical and mental health. Saying that was true would be conjecture as I had felt fine in the cities that I live in for so long with only concrete and lights.

Talk expanses of trees filled the area making it look like a miniature forest rather than a garden, sprouts of grass and other plants were on each side of the walkway. You weren't allowed to harvest from this area, which made some alchemists green with envy when they saw some plants that were worth thousands of gold being used for relaxation. The path itself was a bunch of moss covered stones to not break away from the natural feel of the place.

"This is the perfect place for a date," I looked at the vines falling down from the trees as I sighed feeling my body relax even though I didn't know it was tense.

A sound of splashing made me abandon the walkway, making my way through the dead leaves, and various plants around me. As I pushed away a vine covering, I found myself in front of a small lake with little koi fish at the bottom. A small stream fed into the pond making bubbling sounds as a young girl around 12 or 13 let the fish nibble at her fingers giggling.

Auburn hair fell down her back like waves, her skin as dark as the trees to her side, a green and orange dress held tightly to her body. Her build was athletic, muscular legs that met thick thighs, arms toned yet not bulky as if she was a humanoid form of a deer.

What attracted my attention though was not her beauty for I had been saturated by models from magazines, and movies all my life, no. A pair of wings hung from her back, auburn like her hair covered in a tiny spread of fur. Plus she was only about a foot tall, that was also an attention grabber.

"Dryad?" She nearly jumped when I spoke her head whipping around to me.

"Me a dryad? Ha, you don't know much about the forest do you?" Her sweet voice mocked him a bit, with a tinge of pride.

"Nymph." Her face suddenly filled with shock before settling down, "I didn't expect to see a spirit so I took a stab in the dark. A smile slid across my face, it seemed as though the word Nymph was not common here.

"Druid?" Her eyes narrowed suspiciously as she didn't sense a hint of earth, or beast on me which most druids had. They were the only ones who didn't call her a fairy or dryad and knew that they were in fact spirits of the soil and plants.

"No, just a.. an interested scholar I suppose, an alchemist of the family." My eyes wandered from her to the trees around us. I was truly wishing she was a dryad, gaining the friendship of a dryad meant that I could mature plants at a much faster rate. Spirits were mischievous according to folklore of my world so dealing with one could be a headache.

She saw that I was losing interest and was surprised, spirits were sought after by many since they could enhance your comprehension of the elements making you a better mage. She grinned with bad intentions, "Do you want to see my secret spot?"

I thought for a moment, looking at her grin, knowing she was up to no good. Weighing the pros and cons I didn't see any point in not following, if anything suspicious happens I can still run. With a nod she got up and started floating away using her wings.

After twenty minutes of walking we made it to a clearing, all vegetation stopped in this area even the moss which viciously clung to everything. It reminded me of a large fairy circle from the deserts with its small slope that gathered water at its exact center.

"Many humans come here, alchemists like yourself and offer the water in the center a drop of their blood. I don't know why but I heard there is an old alchemical tail about it, this I have heard. It's the story of the hungry serpent. It was said to hunger for the most powerful beast in the world." She breathed in, her eyes glistening as she recounted the tale that she obviously enjoyed.

"A long time ago a snake wanted to eat the strongest beast, at the time it was a golden lion sitting above all else. So the snake hunted, and ate, leaving poison in its wake as it grew stronger. All things fall into this beast's jaws, and each beast made the snake stronger. For this snake had a gift!

It was gifted by the gods the ability to regenerate its body no matter the injury by eating the meat of his pray. He had been given this ability as punishment for eating a demi-god's pet sheep. He didn't see how such an ability could ever be considered a curse.

Feeling confident the snake challenged the lion to a fight, and to its delight it won the fight. When the lion was about to be struck the final blow the snake hissed, 'Finally I shall taste the meat of the strongest beast!'

The lion laughed, 'No, you shall taste the meat of the second strongest beast, for you are now more powerful than I!'

The snake feeling conflicted, ate the lion but did not feel satisfied in the least. It's whole life had been to eat the strongest beast, and now he was it. Not willing to give up on its dream it found its tail and swallowed it whole until its body was a ring. Every day it ate at its tail, every bite it would grow back.

Alchemists see this as a truth of the world, seeing the snake represent the cycle of rebirth. It is said that this circle of land has been tainted by that very snake's poison making this called the Ouroboros Ring, or the ring of reincarnation!"

As a reincarnator myself, I felt a deep connection to this place as I heard the story. Looking to the water stilled in the middle of the sunken land I walked toward it giving the water a drop of my blood. "As a reincarnated person, may you find rest when you find your dreams aren't worth your suffering."

The blood hit the water and I turned back to the Nymph, her grin had grown now that I did probably exactly what she wanted but I didn't care. I felt some sort of release with that drop of blood, like all my longing to be back in my old world fell away letting me finally bury my old self.

"I am no longer Nikolai, nor am I Josh. They had both died, so I should give them the rest they deserve. I shouldn't hold on to them like the oroborus its tail, or I will end up just like them," I thought for a few moments, before finally settling on something from an old show I used to enjoy. "I am Crowley."

The king of hell, that suited my most powerful spell now didn't it? A laugh was heard from the forest that wasn't as mirthful as one would hope, a few of the alchemists imagining beautiful maidens saved by them before the laugh came. Those with wild imaginations immediately left the forest like the scattering of birds.


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