“Che. Ow, ow ow.” I watched Tristain rub his crimson cheek with his good hand and stood up uneasily, trying not to jostle his injuries.
He walked over to the Lillia Tree, and stroked one of her branches. He felt the bark’s smooth texture, with his fingers, evaluating it, before commenting. “Huh. Odd.”
Still seething, I had no interest in responding to his mutterings.
“Very interesting, I wish I had seen her transform. This is really cool.”
It was cool, I can’t deny that. But I still won’t respond.
He continued caressing it, following the branch down to the trunk.
“Oh, so I guess this is where I’m supposed to put the ice then.” Finding a small hollow where the limb met the trunk, he stuck his fingers in it.
I remembered what that hole was originally, and turned away in embarrassment. I couldn’t hold out any longer, he wins this round. “J-just feed her! She said she was hungry and tired.”
He thought for a moment, looking up at her canopy. “So, food is likely water, and tired is probably a need for sunlight, energy.”
I’m not sure where he got that from, but then, he seemed to know much more about the Ascension World. Looking back over at him, I frowned.
“So we should cut down some nearby trees to give her more light, that will probably help her recover faster. You’re really good at cutting things, like with wind, right? How fast can you accelerate the air molecules? No, nevermind – could you put notches in those trees so they fall away from us? Then we can use them to make a temporary set of walls to protect ourselves. While you do that, I’ll get cooking, and make us some food. You did really well collecting all those stones and wood….” He monologoed to me, without even checking to see if I was listening.
Well, I was, but that’s not really the point. I couldn’t think right now. I was partially following him, but also very incensed by his current behavior.
“Yes, but, first, can you take your fingers out of Lilia?” I could feel the urge to slap him again, despite his injuries.
“Uh,” he looked at his hand and frowned, before taking his fingers out of the knothole, and stepping back to get a better look at the tree form Lilia. He stood there confused for a moment, shrugged, then walked to my rock pile. “Well, get knocking those trees down, we’ll need to use them for protection and for materials, so they will be ‘Providing,’ I guess. I’ll get the fire cookin’.”
I seriously wanted to slap him for his insensitivity towards another girl, despite having mixed feelings for her, but looked instead at the woodlands around us. I wasn’t too interested in desecrating trees, but then, after the incident with the flowers, and realizing that these are not The Trees but only trees, I suppose there must be some significant difference. That didn’t really help me in knocking them down though.
“Tristain…” Without looking away from the nearest tree that is not a Tree, I voiced my concerns, “How do you go about knocking down a tree?”
“Uh… you notch it. Uh, let me share a memory.” We both closed our eyes. After calming my breath, emptying my mind, and listening to the thoughts around us quietly, I noticed several odd things. Before I could inspect them closely, however, Tristain’s thoughts invaded, showing me how a tool for cutting could be used to knock down a tree, and let it fall in the desired direction.
“Okay, back at it then, we’re running out of light after all!” He abruptly dissolved the thought, and went back to his fire pit building. He chose a location slightly further off from Lilia than I had originally placed the rock pile. I didn’t understand why the circle of stones I had made wouldn’t work, but I’m sure he has a good reason. It was my first time, anyways.
I shrugged, and concentrated on using the wind to finely slice wedges out of the tree trunks. It didn’t go well at first. I would cut, but I could never slice further than a certain distance into the trunk. After a few tries, Tristain came over.
“Ah, so, if you keep going over the same mark over and over, the downward pressure from the tree will stop the blade before it gets all the way through, unless you can overcome that stress with enough power.” He pointed with his good hand over the mark I had been making. “So what you want to do, is slice directly inward here where your previous oneended.” He motioned to me, and I did as he asked.
Then he took a bear claw and smacked the part I had been cutting fairly gently – enough to cause him to wince from the jarring motion reverberating through his broken arm, but not enough to actually do much damage to the tree. To my surprise, the partial wedge fell out.
“So, keep doing it in small parts. You’ll get the hang of it. Damnit, a broken arm sucks.” He handed me the claw, and nodded his head back to the small fire he had going, now smiling. I took the hint that he needed to get back to cooking, and took the claw from him.
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! This ends arc 2. Next up is Lilia’s perspective. I enjoyed writing her too much, hopefully my editor doesn’t kill me.