“Food, I need to rest now. When Tristain wakes, have him give me more ice.”
Lilia yawned, and walked over to a small spot where dappled light shone through the trees. She smiled at me, thrusted an arm and a leg into the air, balancing on one foot. Her skin slowly unwrapped into leaflets, leaving bare green, red, and grey flesh. It was rough, and gnarled, like tree bark. The leaves appeared to be attached to branches, which extended from somewhere underneath, slowly growing from her body. The membranes attached, withered and became taught but stringy, allowing them to elongate much farther than what I would have expected. The leg still on the ground grew thicker as roots pushed through the muscles there and into the ground, firmly planting Lilia in place. After just a few moments, she had transformed into a decent sized sapling.
There was a whole tree in there?! A small one to be sure, but still… To be able to change so much within the course of a few minutes, I was mesmerized by the process.
All said though, she stood out. It wasn’t that she didn’t look like a tree, but that the type of tree she looked like couldn’t be considered similar to any other tree in the forest. Also, she was quite a bit shorter. In the end, she was a very pretty, and unique, tree. To top off her singularity, she had a lone flower, which had been on her head, reaching for the light above, nestled in her canopy.
I sighed. I can’t deny that I’m a bit jealous of her being able to transform like that. I pulled out what remained of the bear fur, which was beginning to have an odd smell to it, and spread it out under the ‘Lilia’ Tree. When Tristain wakes up, I’ll have to steer him him over here, both to feed Lilia, and to keep the two troublemakers in one place. It will be easier to look after them if neither of them wanders off. (Editor’s Note: One’s a tree and the other has a broken arm and ribs, how far do you think they could get?)
Next, I gathered up some sticks and rocks, as I had seen Tristain do twice now. Gather sticks, put them in a pile, then feed them to the fire for cooking. The stones which he had used to encircle the fire, kept it contained. After building a sizable pile of both, I moved on to skinning the freshly killed bear. My bear claw stripped off quite a bit of fur and flesh, and I used what meat I got from performing the process to make skewers for dinner, again as I had seen Tristain do.
* * * *
It was getting dark by the time I had finished all of the preparations, but Tristain still hadn’t woken up. He was breathing, but the bruising worked its way to his shoulder, and lower arm. I sighed as I sat down next to him, hoping desperately that another bear wasn’t going to stumble upon us any time soon.
I would’ve been dead if not for these two. In a way, I guess I needed to forgive Lilia for almost killing me. It didn’t make me happy nor did I feel any gratitude towards her, but, begrudgingly, I suppose I should give her the benefit of the doubt. She seems like a very simple…… Tree… person… Dryad, that’s what Tristain called her, right? Her sole focus seemed to be eating ice. She looked happy enough as long as she could have that.
And then there is Tristain. The more I thought about it, the more I felt he was doing his best. It’s just that his best is infuriating. Why did he have to know how to do so many things in this Ascension? Where did he learn it all? And then he keeps harassing me, time after time. I was getting bitter. I just wanted to be liked, and it felt more like I was his entertainment.
While ruminating, I felt him stirring to my side.
I looked at him, not sure what morning was. “Uh, did you rest well?”
“I feel like I got hit by a truck.” He frowned and looked at his arm, and touched the brace with his free hand.
“S-sure.” More words I didn’t understand. “Um, thanks for saving me.”
“Yeah, uh, what else would I have done? It would have been pretty irresponsible of me to just let you get eaten by that bear. Besides, I’d rather see you in one piece with your pants down, than mutilated.” He waved his free hand like it was no big deal, then winced.
I didn’t understand this either though. “What do you mean?”
“It was a great view. I didn’t want it ruined by you being diced into pieces by some bear. Your pants were down, you know. You have a grea-”
I realized where this was going and rage overtook me, to the tune of a very resounding slap to his face. I puffed my cheeks and stood, trying to calm myself down. “Get up, and feed your tree!” I yelled at him while pointing at Lilia, hand shaking with left over rage.
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EDIT: Additional edits because I have an awesome editor.
If you would like to support me writing, the RTD patreon is available with entries to support me. I don’t expect any money, but if I do get some, I’ll be splitting it between paying my editor (whom otherwise does this out of the goodness of his heart) and commissioning pictures of the character and/or scenes.
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