Before us was the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen in my life.
For as far as the Tree’s sprawling canopy stretched, there were miniature trees growing out of the foreign soil. Barely coming up to my knees, they had the most stunning, colorful fruits on top. They almost glowed, their small leaves colored vibrant reds, blues, and yellows, it was dazzling. Beyond them, there were bigger trees, but not nearly as big as the one we came from.
I kneeled next to one of the miniature trees, and reached out to touch it. It looked delicate, and mesmerizing. I felt an urge to cradle one in my hands.
Before I knew what had happened, Tristain had pushed my shoulders back into the tree trunk. Looking back, the door in tree behind us had closed up, as if the previous opening was a lie. Bringing my attention back to him, I couldn’t understand what he was doing, and he was not being gentle. His grip was hurting my shoulders, and the sharp motion had hurt my back.
“Stop.” He had his serious look still in his eyes. “Don’t touch anything.” He looked back to the field of mini trees, and sniffed at the air. Looking around, he grabbed a tree limb from the ground, and picked it up.
I could not fathom what he was doing. Holding a tree shedding at one end, reaching out, he poked one of the fruits. What came next was terrifying.
Runes glowed on the fruit, and a small thin something pierced the stick that had touched it. The stick didn’t even move, nor did the miniature tree. The protrusion was simply that sharp and fast that it completely pierced the limb without effort.
I inhaled abruptly, and Tristain huffed. Had I touched one of those fruits, that would have been my hand. Whatever that was, it would have went through my hand. I can only imagine how much that would hurt. I rubbed my left hand with my right, feeling my palm, thinking about it being impaled.
Tristain looked at me, set down his tree limb, and put his hands over mine. I looked up into his eyes, and he spoke: “This is not the enclave. Out here, we know nothing. Everything lives to continue to live. Sometimes that means killing other living things. Let me lead for a bit, and watch. These flowers are dangerous. I only noticed because I could smell rotting flesh nearby.”
“Yeah, I’m not sure how that evolved, but that’s downright dangerous. I wonder if they do it to get water from the blood.” Water again, huh? Tristain uses these weird words. Water, evolved, rotting flesh. Where did he learn these things? “Either way, I’ll use this stick to clear a path through the flowers.”
He stood up, and started using this stick he had found, striking back and forth, sweeping the flowers from the ground, stems and all. Watching him, I stared dejectedly. I couldn’t reconcile what he was doing. He was destroying those trees, erm… flowers? I need to start using these words he uses to differentiate things so we can communicate properly. Communication with the right words was always strongly encouraged by the Elder.
However, if he didn’t clear this path, it’s true that we wouldn’t make it through these flowers unscathed. Even if we carefully walked between them, it would be inevitable that we would be injured by at least a few on accident. Is this what ascention was like? Isn’t this far worse than Purgatory?
“Mika.” I looked up. He was looking back at me. “Let me show you what happens to those who don’t understand the severity of this.” He was pointing at something, and motioned for me to come over with his head.
I stood, and walking over to where he was standing, stepping on broken flowers along the way. The slight crunching noises they made when I stepped on them reminded me of the sound of biting into a firm fruit. Looking down at his line of sight, I saw it. I suddenly feel sick to my stomach, nauseous. I couldn’t stand any longer, and, retching everything from my stomach onto the ground, I fell to my knees.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing. In front of me, despite looking right at it, I couldn’t bring myself to believe it, but clearly that shape, it is so similar. I coughed and wiped my mouth. I can’t understand. What is it I’m looking at? I need him to help me.
“That… they… that’s what…” I couldn’t say it. I can’t believe it.
“Yes. She is dead, and that.” Tristain paused, and sighed. “Is what is left.”
Thanks for the support! I am in your care!
EDIT: forgot to mention, i will be doing a bonus chapter Saturday. I am a bit ahead of schedule, so, yay!