Everything in the farm was almost ripe. The onions would be ready for picking in one day, the corn and sunflowers in two, and the tomatoes he'd decided to try growing earlier that week would be ready the day after that. They were all growing very well; if it were possible for Life to pick them all that day, he would have a good harvest.

Neo had said that there would be a storm the next day. It wouldn't be a good harvest that week. His father would be disappointed. Only the onions were likely to still be there when he came to the farm the day after that.

The sun was hot. The soil was dry. Most of the crops would be gone in two days, but the ones which weren't wouldn't be ready to harvest on time if he didn't water them now because they might not be there then.

He could ask Forte to water them.

The crops were his responsibility.

The water in the pool was always cool, even in the sun. The weight of the watering can pulled on his arm like it wanted him to pour it when it was full. The ground absorbed it as soon as he poured it, not giving it time to make puddles. The plants that were still there would ripen on time.

Something new was on one of the tomatoes. He had seen it while he was watering, but finished before looking at it. It wouldn't be nice to make the plants wait. His father wanted him to be nice.

It was like Moonlight's art of the rainbow snake, but it wasn't the length of the forest, and was only green and white, and its head was buried in his tomato. Tomato hornworm, his memory informed him. Similar to the tobacco hornworm, it feeds on tomato and potato plant.

"Excuse me, that tomato isn't ripe yet," he told it gravely. He waited but it didn't acknowledge him at all.

"Also, I think that you're not supposed to eat that on its own. I watch Cooking Life every week, and it has never said that you should eat tomatoes on their own." He knelt on the ground beside the plant to be at the worm's level, his knees in the mud watering it had made. His pants became damp with it. Perhaps he should water that part more when he was done, to replace what his clothing had taken. "If you would like, I can put it in a salad. I have been making salad's since the eighth day of spring, so it should taste good, if you like how unripe tomatoes taste. And it would be on a plate. Food is supposed to be eaten off plates, not vines."

It continued to ignore him, and bright red tomato juice welled up around the edges of the hole it was eating like blood. Life pulled his mouth down into a frown.

"My father gave me information saying that it is very rude to ignore someone when they are speaking to you. It is also rude to eat their food without permission. I would have sold that tomato for fifty gold if it had become ripe. Do you have fifty gold?" When it silently kept eating for the final time, he gently pluck the green tomato off its vine and the worm along with it. "I think that you need to go now. I will let you keep my tomato, because no one else will want to eat it when someone else has taken a bit out of it."

He carried the tomato to the very back edge of his farm's roof, and reached out as far as he could to carefully set the tomato safely on the end of a branch of the massive cherry tree growing there. "I need to finish farming for today and not take you down to the entrance," he said, "but if you can hold onto the side of a tomato I think that you can climb down a tree easily. Please do not come back again if you're only going to eat my crops."

He turned away from worm, tomato, and tree, and they were out of his mind at once as the next part of his daily farming routine rose to the surface with nothing left to distract him from them.

There were weeds which needed to be cut. Most of the weeds would be gone in two days, but the ones which weren't would choke his crops if he didn't cut them now because they might not be there then.

He could ask Forte to cut them.

The crops were his responsibility.

The metal of the scythe was always cool, however long he held it in his hand.