I kept looking around, checking my back and my front, then played with the knots on my hips. To be fair, it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was just weird. Also, it tickled a bit. I followed the top edges around my hips again. It was strange, and I was frustrated.
“Foooood, ah, erm, Tristaaaaaaaaain… this is weird. Why do I have to wear this? Also, you owe me more food.” I couldn’t help but feel the urge to eat again. This whole event was mentally exhausting.
“Look, if we’re to go somewhere with more people, you at least need some basic decency,” Mika explained to me. I didn’t understand though. How is wearing this basic decency? And where are their old clothes?
She must have understood my frown though, because she continued: “It’s considered tactful, even in the enclave, for each person to wear a clean set of clothes. If it’s not clean, then you take a nap, and let it clean itself before going anywhere or doing anything.”
Tristain handed me some ice.
This was the most ice he’s ever given me at one time! Grabbing it with both hands, I held it over my head and spun in circles looking at the light reflecting off of it.
I thought I heard Tristain snark to himself, and Mika say something about “Simpleton.” But IIIIIIICCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEEEE.
I devoured it immediately.
It was delicious.
Normally food had distinct flavors. Some was gross and tasted really bad, but you ate it because you were hungry.
Some was delicious, and you ate fast it because it was tasty. Then you regretted not savoring it longer.
The food Tristain gave me, however, was delicious because it had no flavor. I could eat it and not feel distressed afterwards. I never felt I ate too fast, or that it was just really gross. It hit just the right spot of filling me up without making me feel groggy and over filled.
What was it that Gaia always goes on about? Something about three bears, food and beds. She keeps telling us the same stories over and over, but I generally just don’t get them. I think I get that one now though. We should just leave the bears alone, and not worry about the big one, the little one, or the middle sized one. We don’t need their beds, or their food, or anything, because bears just taste bad. We just need a Tristain. Yes, I need to make sure he’s here to feed me this pure, pure food.
“By the Trees, what did you put in that ice? She’s completely oblivious.” Mika was waving her hand in front of my face. Right, they were wearing that bear fur, what was up with that?
“The food was delicious. Although, you are as delicious as always as well.” Mika backed off in disgust and scoffed at me. “Why are you wearing bear fur? Where are your other clothes?”
Tristain scratched his cheek and answered that one. “Well, uh, seems that outside of the Trees, those clothes die. We woke up one morning and they just, withered and fell off. Heh. It, uh-” But he couldn’t finish as a smack to the back of the head caused him to faceplant in the dirt.
After getting up and brushing himself off, as if nothing out of the ordinary happened, he continued talking. “Well, I suppose we should pack up and get moving onwards towards the closest inhabitants. You said they were that way, right?” He pointed in a direction.
I thought quietly to myself about the direction in question. Yes, that is the direction that other Humes hand come from and run to in the past. I nodded to him in affirmation. I wasn’t sure why they wanted to meet up with other Humes.
“You ready to pack up and get moving, Mika?” He turned to food and continued talking.
“Well, I guess. It was getting nice here though. Can’t we stay here?” She smiled a bit sheepishly.
Tristain frowned. He stood there for a bit before answering. “I won’t lie. This is okay for surviving. But, to be honest, I am done with surviving. I want companionship. And, uh, you are great as a friend, but neither of us are interested in just that.” I wasn’t sure what they were talking about.
Food’s face turned pallid, then as he finished, it became stormy. “Yes, of course. That seems pretty important. I guess we should risk dying to a random bear for that.”
“Huh?” I couldn’t help myself.
“Mika doesn’t want to leave this fortress. And we’ve established that she’s not interested in my affection.” Tristain explained to me.
She doesn’t want his affection? But he gives food! Ice! That’s so wonderful. I don’t understand, but if affection includes Ice, sign me up! “Does getting your affection mean I get more Ice? Oooh, do I get it without asking?” This seemed pretty exciting in my head. Definitely a good deal.
“What?!” Mika gave me a crazed look.
Tristain stared blankly before stifling laughter.
“No, well, maybe, but why is that even important?”
“Well, Ice is delicious. If I get more, then that’s more delicious.” Seemed pretty basic to me. Not sure why Food was so confused.
She put a hand on her forehead and sighed. “Look, by affection, he wants to, you know, uh… Procreate.” Her cheeks were turning pink, and she kept hiding her face in one of her hands and looking downwards.
“Oh.” I thought for a moment. We Dryads don’t really procreate. Not that we can’t, there just isn’t a need to. We live forever, and there are plenty of us. We don’t have any desire to procreate either. It’s a bit like, we could, but why? Humes die, so I get that. They need to procreate to survive. How do Humes procreate then? I know that Dryads just merge, and then a seed is born in one of them. The seed incubates a while, then is born as a small little dryad-ite… Dryad-ling? Dryad… child? Young Dryad. Let’s go with Young Dryad.
After Gaia brought us to consciousness, we had experimented with our bodies to understand. I can say from experience, that the carrying of the child and the release of them into the world wasn’t pleasant, but also was not unpleasant either. The entire merge operation was fun, but not worth the results.
Hmmmmmm… But for Ice… Without asking…
“I’ll do it,” I claimed. Seemed like a fair trade.
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! Hopefully I’m rounding out the actual writing of the ending of the first set of arcs in the next 2 weeks (IE: book 1 will come to a close). Now, that’s still 20 chapters out (10 weeks web time); but I’m pretty excited about it. Once done, I’ll be doing some serious review and editing from chapter 1 to completion – in hopes to publish on Amazon. I’m hoping I can finish all of that before I release the final chapters of the book 1 so I have time to start on book 2 without interrupting my weekly releases. Whew.
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