I wasn’t particularly tired anymore. The threat of being eating by this strange woman that Tristain called “A Dryad” was causing my heartbeat to pound in my ears. Not sleeping during the darkness was hardly an issue anymore.
Tristain, after all, had pushed my endurance to the limits at the enclave when he first arrived, and this was nothing by comparison.
“I still don’t like this.”
We were leaving the flower field at a decent speed, the flowers retracting to their roots around us, allowing us to pass. This was one of the benefits of having Dryad with us. After a decent questions and answers session with Tristain, where he jokingly said ‘You’d be less imposing if you were smaller,’ she had shrunk in size to just a bit smaller than both of us, but still keeping her ridiculous proportions.
“Don’t worry, I pay her in ice, and we both stay alive. Besides, if we fought, who knows how hurt we could end up even if we win.” Tristain spoke in a sing song type voice, and sighed.
“I still don’t like this.” He makes valid points, but I’m not so easily convinced. She want to eat me. “There is no way I’m delicious…” I muttered and sniffed my arm. I don’t even smell like food. How could I be delicious?
“Uh, actually, you do look pretty delicious… But she doesn’t want to eat you anyways, she just wants your water… your blood.” I don’t even know what to think of that statement. Is that supposed to make me feel better? I scrunched up my nose and looked at Tristain. I was horrified. How could he think of eating me? Would they split me, him cooking my flesh, and her drinking my blood?
“You… I… How am I delicious?” I stammered out.
He smiled, it was another of his ‘not-quite-wholesome’ smiles. “Er, your body is so firm and smooth. With just the right amount of curves and still so strong. I’m sure you have lots of stamina. I can’t imagine any guy not wanting to spending the night with you.”
I don’t understand what he’s saying. Spending the night with me? That’s when we are supposed to sleep, is it not? Surely…
“Ah, alas, you don’t want that from me though,” he clutched his chest with one hand and put the other in a wiping motion over his forehead, “I shall direct my base desires elsewhere.” His voice was in a exasperated sigh like tone. It irritated me. He was clearly being dramatic.
He stumbled and acted injured at my remark, and replied: “So harsh. Maybe I’ll lay down here to nurse my wounded heart.” He pretended to stumble, falling on the ground face up.
Before I even knew what had happened, my feet dangled in the open air while I tried desperately to breath through my constricted throat. I was held above the ground by my neck, the Dryad’s ‘hand’ completely encased it, actively subsuming more of my body. I couldn’t breath, and couldn’t remove her ‘hand’ that was now a thick trunk, no matter how hard I tried to pry it off. She didn’t even budge when I kicked.
“Food Source, are you dead?” She looked over at Tristain, who stared dumbfoundedly.
“N-no, put her down, we were playing, put her down.”
Almost immediately, the branches forming her arm split. I fell to the ground and coughed, gasped and laid there listening while I recovered. That was NOT okay.
“Hmmmm, but you were dying.” The branches slowly withdrew into her arm, turning it back into its pale green color, leaves from the vines piecing together to form her skin.
“It was a joke. We were just playing. Having fun. Look, you can’t do that. Mika wouldn’t kill me, and I wouldn’t kill her. You can protect us from others, but we sometimes fight, but we won’t kill each other. Just let us have our fun.” I could tell he was desperate, and that this wasn’t intended, but I still didn’t like it. She could have killed me. She would have killed me.
Dryad frowned and looked at Tristain thoughtfully.
“Look, just, you can protect us, but don’t attack us. If you do, no more food. Okay?”
This was not okay. I needed to find a way to make my own path. I couldn’t stay with them forever. This Dryad was dangerous.
“Also, my name is Tristain, and she is Mika. What is your name?”
“I’ve said already, I’m named Lilia of the Tree.”
“Right, Lilia, use our names too.” This had been a conversation we’ve had a few times now.
“Hmmm, but you’re food source, and you’re food… No, Delicious food…”
I had regained my breath at this point, and stood. “As endearing as this conversation is, I don’t care about our names if I’m going to be attacked and nearly killed.”
“Sorry, Delicious food, I won’t do that again, Tristain doesn’t want it, and he feeds me.” She smiled and hugged me. Unexpectedly, she was very soft and plushy.
“Tristain, get your pet under control, or I’ll take one of these bear claws to you.” I pushed Lilia away from myself.
“Aye, Ma’am.” He grabbed Lilia’s arm, and pulled her away, towards our path from the tree.
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