The sound of screeching tires rose in the air. People fell into a panic. Blood was shed regretfully. Due to one little carelessness, an innocent and tired soul, unfortunately, met its end.
No, perhaps, it was a fortunate event. From the soul bearer’s perspective, it could pretty well be salvation. For the worn-out soul finally laid to rest.
One soul was drifting across the two planes. Up and down were interchangeable. An eternity and a single tick just passed simultaneously. Left and right were now in the same direction. It was the border, it was the center, it was… the horizon.
“Oh, poor, poor soul,” exclaimed a voice. It came from everywhere, and from nowhere. It had no distinctive properties and felt extremely familiar. It wasn’t pleasing nor was it revolting. It bore no news nor it told gibberish. It was a voice that was full of emptiness.
“What atrocity tortured such a soul to this extent? State your wish, you might find it realized.”
“I’m tired,” he answered to nobody, expected nothing to happen, “I want to rest.”
“And rest, you shall.”
Something tickled his nose, woke him up mopey. Foreign greeneries of a scenery greeted his eyes when he looked around, but he was too exhausted to pay any of it his mind. Physically speaking, he was on top of his condition, but his mind could really use some extra rest for an eon or two.
Talking about physical, he realized that he was a she. And she was naked.
The first thing that crossed her mind was she needed something to cover herself. It would be annoying if bugs were to bite her awake in the middle of her rest. However, bug bites were reduced to second place in her mind, as she was suddenly washed over by a surge of energy out of nowhere.
There really was no explanation to it, but she could feel… energy? or some sort from her surroundings. It piqued her interest at first, but as the relentless tides of energy began to annoy her, she mentally wished it to stop. And stop it did, following her unsaid command. It turned out that she could manipulate the energy just as well as she could perceive it.
She could command it at will, as freely as she wanted to. She could push it, she could pull it, she could condense it so packed the energy began to materialize and even glowed palely. She could, in theory, make herself clothing out of said energy. However, it would take her too much time and effort, as she had to materialize it to a countless number of threads and weave it on her own. She had to be resourceful if she wanted to rest as soon as possible.
Thus, she chose a rock of her palm’s size around her vicinity. She sluggishly picked it up, infused the energy into it, then animated it.
“Make me clothes,” she ordered to the rock-now-golem.
While the golem was working, she would treat herself to some simple nap.
Her stomach rebelled. Hunger woke her up. She didn’t know how many hours had passed during her nap, maybe even days considering how the day was currently at dawn. One thing for sure, she hadn’t had any meal, and it would be a bother to look for one every time she was hungry.
Had there been a way to avoid eating altogether, she would gladly learn and sport it.
No, maybe there was one?
Eating was, crudely speaking, a process to acquire fuel for your body to produce energy to maintain life. On a related note, an untapped reserve of energy was accessible for her. Theoretically speaking, if she could somehow transfuse that energy into her body correctly, eating would become unnecessary.
However, as there was always a risk of failure, she didn’t dare to experiment on her own body. She captured a primate-rodent animal that snooped around near to her by manipulating the ever-present energy, then she named it Mockey. She wanted to add Mouse behind its name, but as it wasn’t exactly a mouse, she couldn’t. It was unfortunate, but she acquired a lab chimpanzee/rat/thing for her experiment use.
Mockey was short lived.
Thanks to Mockey’s sacrifice, she learned that utilising a core energy distributor—a gem that was imbued into one’s being—could greatly help to stabilize the energy intake.
While Mockey’s inner gem was too small and crude for her size, she hated the idea of looking for a suitable core substitute. It would take forever. Her stomach had been protesting all this time and she could bear it no longer.
It seemed like her golem would have to go for a quest to find a gem, she pondered as her eyes befell upon it.
It was when she noticed that the cloth-making golem was having properties of the core she needed. Perhaps being bathed in the energy for a long period of time altered it one way or another. She didn’t know why and she couldn’t care to, all that mattered was that she found her new core.
With the golem, former rock—now gem, being her energy spring, the stomach growls that annoyed her all day finally settled down. It then came to her, she wouldn’t have to work so hard in the first place if she just ate something. Then again, bygones be bygones.
Satisfied of her effort, she glanced toward the mosaic censorship that ought to be what was left of Mockey and an unfinished article of clothing not so far adjacent to it. She had to clean after her mess. Either she, or somebody else.
She chose somebody else for the option.
She was about to craft another golem when the thought came to her; rather than making a new golem every time there was a menial task to be done, it would be better to have a golem that could make golems on her behalf. And that, she should make.
The naked-still woman scanned for any appropriate material for her golem-maker-golem-to-be in her immediate surrounding. Specifically, whatever was in front of her now half-closed-eyes, as her motivation was simply not enough for her to crane her neck even for a little. It wasn’t even enough to lift her eyelids a minute more. Whatever, she’d just choose the tree she was resting her body upon. It was nearby and convenient.
She thought to simply infuse the tree with the energy and be with it, but something else popped in her mind. Just how great would it be if she had someone to take care of her every need. It would be her proxy and her right hand. However, it would also be very tricky to command it. If only she could somehow make the tree understand everything she wanted, it would be ideal.
Or maybe she could.
She gave an inner look at her energy core. This was previously her golem, a golem that somehow understood her very ambigue order of making clothes after being given a bit of energy. If this core was to be split between her and the tree, the tree would surely understand her every intent. She did just that, and linked the two halves with a thread of energy she produced. Then, she gave her order. “Serve me.”
Next was to sleep.
Something disturbed her sleep. Something, or maybe someone.
Perturbed, she opened her eyelids that felt heavier than her entire body. The first information her brain registered was the uncanny amount of golems around her. Every last of them were working on different things, and it was fascinating how little noise they produced. Some were tending flowers that produced relaxing aroma, some were tailoring new clothes—which reminded her, she was now clothed despite having no memory of putting it herself—and some other golems were pinning down a humanoid creature that came close to her.
It was the first time she took a look at another human like her, but it was also the third time she was conscious ever in this world, so she couldn’t judge what she should feel about it. Actually, she could; she didn’t care, and wanted to go back to sleep.
The human male—she thought it was a male so it was a male for her—was shouting something incomprehensible. He tried to resist the golems’ restraint but to no avail. She couldn’t tell what was his aim, but she couldn’t return to her lullaby with such noises near her either.
Even with the language barrier, she could tell the male was glancing at the flowers in her garden over and over. If that flower was what he wanted, then he should take it and leave her alone. No need to kick a fuss and disturb her like this.
Oh, right. The golems pinned him down.
Having no other choice, she manipulated the energy to mentally pluck the flower and offered it to him. She also ordered the tree golem, her personal handmaid, to give that male the same flower again should he come for more. She hoped, with that, he would never disturb her again.
Now with the nuisance gone, she returned to her deep slumber.
Again, somebody was disturbing her sleep. She began to wonder if disturbing people was all they could do.
Lethargic, she let rays of light enter her retina.
The golems—were gone. There were still a handful golems that acted as guardians or some sort, but most of the working golems were visually gone. In their place, however, there were little humanoid creatures that took care of the tasks. The creatures were small enough to fit in her palm. It reminded her of fairies she often saw in various books and movies in her former world.
One other thing she couldn’t help but notice; her surroundings had completely changed. The last time she opened her eyes, how many centuries ago it was, she was still in the forest lush with greens she first arrived in. There were no pale bluish motes of light floating around her before. She didn’t remember resting her body on oversized fluffy mushrooms either. She wondered who put the beautiful and transparent veil atop her. She also could see some butterflies fluttered by, unperturbed by her bewilderment.
She could tell she was still in the same place as before as the tree she delegated as her handmaid was still rooted in place. Unless, by any small chance, the tree somehow unrooted and carried her to somewhere else.
It was one superb change of tone, and she didn’t hate it. In fact, she was pleased. Her new environment felt extremely comfortable.
After her mood was elevated, she looked for the source of the disturbance. It was another human male. Different from the one before, this human male wore what she judged to be armor and a sword on his waist. He didn’t shout nor kick a fuss, he just talked of something she couldn’t understand with a slow and humble tone. Maybe that was the reason why the golems didn’t pin him down. Yeah, it should be. She had no reason to harm someone who didn’t mean to bother her in the first place.
However, something was strange.
A disturbance of this scale shouldn’t wake her up at all. She was confident she could sleep in even if ten people were talking to her simultaneously. Talking, being underlined, and not shouting.
She tried to find the reason, and did she find it.
The energy the male was carrying—it was something else. It wasn’t exactly enormous or hostile, it was just different. It swayed the energy within her gem, and that roused her.
She also finally noticed that the male was covered in scars. Blood flowed out from every wound on his body. He was tattered and his clothes ragged. Anybody could tell he only had a few breaths left before his last.
Seeing someone else dying in her chamber—it was her chamber now since she liked it—would leave a bad aftertaste. How could she possibly hope to have any good rest if the image of a person dying haunted her in her sleep? It was selfish of him to decide to die here. There should be many other spots to be in one’s last, why would he choose her chamber of all places?
Maybe she could heal him. She hadn’t tried anything like that before, but maybe she just could. Could she? Yeah, she could. Period.
“Patch him up,” she ordered one of the fairies. Her own voice sounded unfamiliar to her, but it was the third time ever she opened her mouth, so it was understandable.
Obeying her, the fairy flew near to the man and healed him. See, she knew she could do it. It was one problem taken down. Now, time to go back to sleep… was what she thought, but the fairy looked reluctant to part with the man. She didn’t know the reason nor did she know how she could tell, she just knew it was the case.
Well, if the fairy insisted, then it may freely go. It was none of her concern.
She, on the other hand, would rest for a little bit more before she was ready to venture out. Not that she was confident she would ever be ready.
It was rare, but she felt refreshed. For once in literally eternity, she didn’t want to sleep. She was woken up as naturally as any morning bird would be.
Only, it was night and not morning, but she didn’t pay much of it.
She looked around and discovered that fairies needed sleep too. She didn’t know how long they had been working, but she knew they were diligent at their work. She judged that they deserved their rest as well, so she wouldn’t complain at all. In the first place, she was not sure why they served her like she was their master. It was not like she gave birth to fairies in her everlasting sleep.
She didn’t, right?
There was nothing to do in her chamber, so she decided to have a walk outside. Her body felt extremely rigid as though she hadn’t moved it in the last thousands of years. She noticed how parched her throat was, so she tried to produce water using the energy, but it was harder than she expected. The energy in the air felt unusually thin and sparse compared to how it was before, some eons ago.
Well, if the energy from outside couldn’t make it, she only needed to utilize the energy from her gem.
She tried to sense where her gem was, but she couldn’t locate it in her body. …No, that wasn’t the correct feeling. The gem had been integrated into her being? No. It was more like… she had become the gem itself? It was weird, but she didn’t feel any inconvenience from that fact. Unsurprisingly, she was apathetic to it.
Well, if that was the case, then her thirst was just an illusion her brain tricked her to believe into. She literally hadn’t eaten nor drunk anything since her being came to be, maybe that was the reason. Once she put her mind to it, she could quench the thirst without any need of water, so that was something. At least she wouldn’t feel any unpleasantry ever in her life.
It was time to venture out.
Her first step ever in history was unrecorded, but it was just as special as her second step. The third step established just how insignificant they were to her as she proceeded to her fourth and fifth step. She was walking, and it was a miracle. No kidding.
For the first time ever she was curious about the world outside. Once she pondered it carefully, save for fairies, this mysterious-yet-versatile energy shouldn’t even exist in her former world. Maybe she could spectacle some kind of magical world outside her chamber, one that would excite her to no end. Maybe she would be invited to a journey to find her true self. Or maybe, she could be a farmer.
But, of course, the world had to betray her expectations.
Along with the breeze of the night, smoke was drifting to her nose. She saw a settlement not far on the horizon. She didn’t know when did people make a settlement there, but she knew that they could no longer live on it; for flame was greedily feasting on humans and materials alike. She also knew that it wasn’t just any fire, but an arson.
Dry clangs of metals met metals rang in the air. There were people fighting everywhere, but it was more of slaughter and less a battle. Man, woman, and children were slain by people riding on high horses and wielding cold weapons warm with blood. In every second, at least two shrieks anxiously roused the air.
She knew exactly what it was; a conflict. Something foolish humans were well versed about.
Her hope was that the fire, both literally and figuratively, wouldn’t spread to her chamber. But, when the sight of her golems befell upon her gaze, she knew it wasn’t that simple. For some odd reason, the golems were sleeping just like the fairies were. She deduced that the unusually thin energy was to blame.
At that moment, another thing intruded her view. A man on his feral steed, advancing towards her. His eyes were crazed and bloodshot, and his energy emitted enmity and greed. With just one glance, she could tell that this man wanted her. Not as a woman nor as another individual; he wanted her as a trophy. He was hungry for power, and she wielded endless power he yearned for.
She would bring shame to her ancestors should she still be obvious of the situation.
She only wanted to rest, and yet people came to her one after another to demand things. She seated in the first rank among every creature when it came to doing nothing, accomplishing nothing. It was not her fault she possessed what they desired. It was theirs for not trying.
A small sigh escaped her mouth along a couple of words; “lazy bastards.” This was why it was tiring to be involved with other people.
If power was what you sought for.
Then power was what you shall receive.
“Why don’t we see if you can withstand it?” She asked the rushing man, fully knowing that he couldn’t comprehend her speech.
She elevated her hand until it was level with her eyes. On it, she produced a small glowing orb out of her own inner energy. The orb spun faster each second passed until it formed a perfect sphere. Nobody could tell how much potential energy it stored, not even her, but everyone present knew the world would face its end lest said sphere was to be unleashed.
The man finally realized his shortsightedness. What world domination? If he could escape far enough from that catastrophe in the birth, that in itself would be a miracle upon miracle.
Oh, how whimsical it was.
How very insignificant.
Thousands of lives were taken that night, indiscriminately taken out. Humans’, animals’, insects’ all the same. The world was made to learn not to mess with her as another sun descended upon the night sky. No star could outshine the bright of mass annihilation that occurred that day.
Everything was obliterated to dust.
In the vicinity of… no, she couldn’t bother to measure it. She had been bummed out. There was no exciting adventure that awaited, only petty conflicts between humans. She was stupid to bring her hope up.
She should sleep. At least, sleep wouldn’t disappoint her.
Again, a crowd of humans woke her up. They just never learn.
She predicted it would need at least a century before the area could be populated like before. Either her calculation was wrong or she had lost the sense of time itself. More likely than not, it was the latter.
She felt sluggish to check, but she had to.
When she peeked out, a dizzying amount of people were crowding her chamber. Hundreds, no, maybe thousands of people even. And not just humans, people with elongated ears, dwarves in literal means, even smaller dwarves, bipedal lizards, bipedal lizards with wings, people with… wait, were those cat ears? They twitched endearingly.
It was still a mystery what they were doing outside her chamber. One thing for sure; had they shown any malice, she would reciprocate 5 times harsher.
After a little while, one person stepped forward. It was a person from the elongated ear race, a male on top of that. To her surprise, knife-ear began to sing. His song was incomprehensible to her, but at least the rhythm was okay.
While she was bewildered still, another person took the knife-ear’s place. It was a male dwarf. His voice was low and heavy, but strangely calming. She took a liking to it. Next was a bipedal lizard. A male, maybe? She didn’t know how to differentiate those scaly people, and they were playing instruments. After that was the twitch-ears with their dances. Then smaller dwarves; they were funny. The singing contest continued even without her consent.
She couldn’t figure their intention yet, but she valued songs better than swords anytime.
There wasn’t anyone in particular who piqued her interest; not after the dwarf. His song was her favorite, soothing her soul like a lullaby.
But, apparently, she spoke too soon.
Different from every other performer prior, a child stepped forward. A human girl, not older than 12 years old from her perspective. She couldn’t tell what was so special from this girl—not until she opened her mouth.
Frankly speaking, the girl was clumsy. Her singing was by no means heavenly, she stuttered even! But, what stirred her heart was that the girl sang with all she had. It was a heartwarming song. She could feel something that intrigued even her tired soul.
She liked that song so much that she told the fairies to copy it and sing it for her.
The fairies choired, humming their own version of the tune. The chamber was filled with hymns. Butterflies danced in the air. Birds chirped happily, celebrating the new entertainment for their master. And she, she was elated. It had been forever since she could enjoy herself like this. She felt gratitude towards the girl.
One flower was plucked from her garden, it would be a reward for the girl. It represented her feelings.
However, now that she gave out rewards, she couldn’t possibly ignore other candidates and brush them off. There weren’t enough flowers in the garden for everyone. The only thing that could match their number was the leaves. So leaves should she give for everyone!
The girl was presented with a flower, while everyone else received leaves from the trees. It felt disproportionally unfair, but it was not her fault that this many people came uninvited. Either they take the leaves or they take their leave.
Ah, how fun.
It turned out, war and conflict weren’t what humans—mankind always do. Songs, arts, cultures, there were many other things people could verse into. Conflict was foolish but inevitable. What was important was that the sun would always rise no matter how dark the night, or something along that line.
The fairies sang the song, they made their iteration. The birds enriched the notes with their tweets. The chamber was happy today, and she felt she could rest in a good mood.
And rest, she should.
Unbeknownst to her, she was known far and wide. Not a single soul was oblivious of her existence. Her tales were told as bedtime stories; “the Witch and the Lumberjack” and “ the Hero and the Lady of the Forest” were the most popular examples of it. She bore many names; The Witch, The Goddess of Sleep and Death, Mother of Spirits, and Lady of the Forest to mention a few.
She was revered by the people, loved by many, and feared by some. Nobody could ever forget the catastrophe that was awakened by her wrath. For an entire continent felt the dismay she unleashed that night.
They built an empire surrounding her garden. A prospering holy empire that didn’t discriminate against its people and was known for its songstresses. Every year, the empire held a contest in her garden. Any singer who could make the fairies sing their song would be awarded and held high in society.
The world kept spinning while the Witch slept away her limitless exhaustion.
Hello people, Mab here. As it turns out, MOSS didn’t die after all! I mean, it’s RaisingTheDead, am I right? ….this joke is so old.
Well, I’ll have to be transparent here. I actually wrote this last year, around April 2019, and only finished it just a few days ago. Talk about procrastinating. There’s one segment that was honestly so bad I began to question my own sanity when I wrote it, so I ended up rewriting the whole thing. Kudos to my proofreader, Schwarz, for noticing it!
By the way, the story is inspired by two good novels I’d recommend you guys to read. One is “The Lazy King” and the other is “While Killing Slimes for 300 Years, I became MAX Level Unknowingly.” They’re of two jarringly different genres, but they have one common ground between them. I used that as a base and went from there, and I honestly like the result.
See you in the next MOSS! ….an eon from now.