I was suddenly filled with both fear and excitement. Had we really survived purgatory? It seemed so easy. All that was left to move forward, but what did that entail? I didn’t know what to expect, but surely it would be an adventure. At the same time, if the trees did not provide after purgatory, where would we get our fruits to eat?
As the door opened further, there was a rush of air coming into the room, it smelled odd, warm, and it looked like there were things in it. As the rush ended, they slowly settled in the room, falling out of the air ever so slowly.
“Ah, looks like the tutorial is over.” Tristain said something odd. What does he mean by tutorial?
“I don’t understand. Tutorial?” What did he know that I didn’t?
“Ah, yeah.” He watched the doorway, without looking at me. “Use your wind to cut the leaf from the bed. Put it over here and put any good fruits in it so we can take them with us.”
I couldn’t think. Did he just tell me to harm the tree? I don’t understand. Why would he do such a thing? We stood there, him watching the door, and me watching him, completely flabbergasted.
Without looking, he started talking again. “Mika, listen, we need food. We don’t know what is edible out there yet. Also, it’s dangerous to stay here. We would be trapped in this room if anything were to come in while we prepared. I’ll keep watch, you make the preparations. We can reuse that leaf as shelter as well, it makes sense to take it. It can be the final act of provision from the Trees.” He sounded so serious, so sure of himself.
But I couldn’t desecrate the tree. Those actions would be sacrilegious, and who knows what punishment would be meted out for actions such as those?
“Tch, look… At the very least, gather as many fruits as you can carry, the longer we stay here, the worse it is for us. I’m probably going to look like an idiot for being so cautious, but I could have swore I smelled rotting flesh when that gust of air came in.” His eyes hadn’t left the doorway, and his body was tense, ready to move.
I felt conflicted. The urgency in his voice, I could feel it, but I couldn’t bring myself to desecrate the Trees. I had only ever took what was needed to keep myself content. Doing more than that would be heresy. I picked two fruits. One for me, one for him. We would be hungry soon, I could justify this. “Okay, let’s go?” I wasn’t sure what else he had in mind.
“What?” He didn’t look back. “You already have all the ripe fruit?”
I looked at my hands, a fruit in each. “I have what we should take.”
“I don’t know what it will be like out there, but I doubt food will be as plentiful out there as it is in here. Take more.”
“I can’t, it wouldn’t be right.” I raised my head, defending my position.
“Does it matter if you are right or wrong, if you are dead?” He looked away from the door to me, but didn’t relax. That same tension and concentration he had been focusing on the door was now focused on me.
This was novel, and despite not feeling intimidated before, I could feel the pressure now. This wasn’t one I wanted to lose though. “No, you’re right, it doesn’t. That’s why we shouldn’t take more. The Trees abhor greed.” I’m sure I told him before. To waste would cause oneself to be returned to the dirt.
He squinted his eyes a bit while looking at me, thinking over my words, then faced towards the door again.
“Fine. Lets go.” He sighed.
All said and done, I can’t say I’ve ever seen him acting so serious before. I’m confused by his change in behaviour. He motioned for me to follow. I stepped behind him, and mimicked his low profile. We crept slowly and quietly towards the door, being cautious of… something? What was that odd smell when the door opened, anyways? It seemed to be gone now.
When we reached the gaping opening, we both peered down the corridor from around one of the curved corners. I kneeled so he wouldn’t block my view with his head. The tunnel appeared the same as the one we entered; long, somewhat wide, and very smooth to the touch, similar to something polished from years of foot traffic. Light from either end seeped in, creating a puddle of darkness in the middle. Eyeing the new exit, the light streaming into the tunnel was far brighter than at our end. Bright enough to saturate the view beyond the threshold.
Slowly, Tristain stepped into the tunnel, hugging the side with his back, continuing to watch forward. His tension was palpable. I stepped into the tunnel behind him, and as soon as I did, I heard a crackling noise. We both looked back into the room to notice that the door behind us was growing closed, very quickly, I might add. Seems there is no going back at this point.
“Well, at least we have some food with us. Seems like we won’t be going back there any time soon.” Tristain frowned at me, and looked at the fruits in my hands, then went back to monitoring the entrance, and creeping forward.
I looked at the fruit in my hand, one in each. They looked delicious, so I took a bite of one.
‘Chomp’ Yes, it is indeed delicious.
I continued to follow behind, chewing. I could have swore I heard him sigh, but he continued pressing forward to the end of the tunnel, ignoring me.
Towards the end of the tunnel, I heard him say “Huh.” Looking myself, there appeared to be a small alcove, with some odd shaped runes above it, and something inside.
“Well, this is timely.” What is timely? I don’t understand. Tristain pulled out four somethings I had never seen before, and handed two to me.
“What is this?” I looked at them and turned them around.
“Boots. Put them on your feet. Apparently it’s not safe for our feet out there.” Not quite understanding, I watched him put his feet in them, and followed suit.
“Boots…” What a strange concept. Why do you need to protect your feet? The Trees always had a smooth surface to walk on. “How do you know it’s not safe?” He has some odd knowledge, that’s for sure.
“Says so right there,” he points to the odd looking runes, “It’s dangerous to go alone, take these.” (Editor’s Note: Poor man’s zelda. No swords for this intrepid duo)
“Oh. Runes can say things?” He seemed to get flustered for a moment, but finished putting on the boots, and continued to look seriously towards the entrance. I figured the runes must have been there to protect something, or perform some unknown function.
“No. I guess literacy doesn’t exist here…” He sighed. “We can talk about that later, lets go.” He proceeded onwards.
Then at the end of the tunnel, he looked out, from side to side, then cautiously stepped into the light and pulling my arm with him.
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! hyyyyyyype