So, a dried husk… is what awaits us here after ascension.
At first, I couldn’t handle how it looked. There was something irreconcilable about the shriveled taut skin and thin bony frame. After heaving my stomach’s contents onto the ground, I noticed the smell of my own bile mixed with that of the dried flesh. Due to my terrible aim, their smells had amplified each other. This caused another wave of nausea, and I heaved what little fluid was still in my stomach out on the ground again. The acrid smell singing my nose, and my heaving stomach caused my eyes to water.
Standing, I backpedaled to the tree. I needed to calm myself. Is this what really awaits us out here? I was horrified. Looking at Tristain, I tried asking him. My throat hurt and all that came out was some croaks.
I think he noticed my quandary, because he walked over, and hugged me. Not the advantageous hug he had used before, but an actual hug, it felt comforting and safe. He pressed one hand to the back of my head, settling me against his chest, with another on the middle of my back. I could feel his warmth and his steady hands.
“It’s alright, we’ll make it through. I need you to hold it together though. We’ll see worse than this if this is how we are introduced to the world here.” That frightened me even more. If it only gets worse, how am I supposed to hold it together?
“I know I’m not perfect, but you need to trust me. We have to keep moving, there’s no future where staying here will work well for us.” He looked up into the canopy of the tree. “It’s about noon now, but depending on the length of day, we need to find shelter before nightfall.” Trust him? That seemed a bit of a stretch. His antics never ceased to cause me grief.
I pushed myself away from his comfort, looked up at him, and wiped the tears from my eyes. He let go of me, and scanned around our feet. Spotting what he was looking for, he stooped down and grabbed something, handing it to me. “Eat this, it will help take the bile taste from your mouth.” He handed me the last of our fruits. I had eaten one out the doorway, then promptly retched it onto the ground. This was supposed to be his fruit.
“But, this is yours…?” I tried to hand it back, but he gently refused.
“Yeah, but you’ve probably never been hungry a day in your life. I need you to focus on what’s ahead. Eat up, and we’ll continue to move… Down a different path…” I followed his eye sight as he spoke that last bit.
Where I had retched, the flowers had grown back with an unnatural speed, even bigger than before.
I followed close behind as Tristain beat out a path again. The fruit and it’s juice calmed my mind and helped cool the burning in my throat.
As we neared the edge of the flowers, I started to think about his words earlier. He used a bunch of odd ones again. “Tristain, what is nightfall, and day?”
“Ah, I figured this planet might be tidally locked, but now I’m not so sure. See how the light isn’t directly above us anymore? It moves across the sky, and maybe in a few hours, it will be below the horizon. Then it will be dark. That is night. You probably remember from some of my memories. I didn’t realize you saw them at first, but I guess that will help. Anyways, right now, it’s day.”
“So, it’s not light all the time?” That worried me. How would we see?
“Sure isn’t.” He chuckled a bit.
“I… I see.” His laugh definitely did not make me feel any better. “What do we do when that happens?”
He sighed and stopped moving for a moment, looking around. “I’m not sure. We need some shelter to protect ourselves. We need food. We need water… probably. Once we get to those trees beyond the flower patch, we’ll have to figure more out. For now let’s worry about getting out of this graveyard glade of flowers though.”
Hacking the flowers out of the way, we found ourselves at the forest edge in no time. Somewhere along the line, he had handed me a stick as well. I didn’t use it till the end though.
“After you madame.” He changed his demeanor to be strange and made a bowing action to me, gesturing with his hands forward. It was a very confusing action, and I’m not sure what to make of it, but I walked ahead anyways. It felt as though he was making fun of someone not here.
It was, as always, a mistake to trust him when he’s not being completely serious. As soon as I walked past, I felt a hand on my rear. Reflexively, I swung the stick I was carrying. It arched in protest at the sudden movement, and outright burst into pieces upon hitting the back of his shoulders.
Does he not learn?!
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! 4 more chapters until a new character. I commissioned a drawing of her to use as my banner, so that’s cool. That said, if I ever publish on amazon, I’ll commission another pic for the front cover with the 3 main characters. Anyways, means a pic plus cover/banner in a week and a half. I’m going to aim for 3 chapters next week too, so maybe not this upcoming Tuesday, but the following Tuesday, I’ll have them posted. If you join us on Discord, you can see at least the face as my profile pic.
Finally, If you would like to support me writing, the RTD patreon is available with entries to support me. I’ll be honest, 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 more pictures of the character and/or scenes. I don’t plan on surviving from patreon, nor pay walling, nor working faster/slower. That’s not what this is about. It’s all about the extra artwork, and giving my editor some incentive to keep helping me.
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