Gaia sighs again. Very loudly. “Relax, child. You may protect him, and you may go with him, but you may not help him. He must enact his own ideas and plans. He may help you with your ideas, however.”
“YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.” Lilia bounds into the air. She jumps up and down a few times before grabbing my arms and pulling me up. Saying she heals fast would be an understatement. She then insists on hugging me. Maybe crushing me would be a better explanation of what she is doing. “Fooooooooooood…” Append source…? Please? Don’t eat me…
“You get to feed me!” Her smile is brilliant. It is impossible to not smile back, despite being crushed in a hug.
“Okay, yes, I will, but I need to breathe,” I eek out.
“Eh hehe,” She giggles and lets me go.
“Lilia.” Gaia directs Lilia’s attention.
“Yes, mom.” Looking back, I’m sure even Gaia isn’t unaffected by Lilia’s joy.
Sighing some more, Gaia confirms, “What restrictions do you have now?”
“No helping. But I can do what I want?” She tilts her head. It’s cute, and somewhat endearing.
“Close enough.” She pauses for a moment. “Since I’m allowing a dryad to roam again, there isn’t much sense in limiting rain. I’ll restart that process.” Clearly Gaia has far too much power. I can imagine her saying: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll just start and stop the processes of climate at will.’ What is this nonsense?
Then Gaia turns back to me. “The goddess told me about you before… I expected… No, I expect you to consider those you affect before you move to action going forward. Listen to those whose livelihood you’ve destroyed here before you go off on your journey to the Library of the Ursa. Continue to be honest with yourself, but also listen to those you wish to affect.”
I suppose that is my command. There isn’t much room for negotiation there, but then, she also isn’t asking for much. To be fair, she really isn’t trying to impose on any of us. It seems more like she is confirming that our path is already set, we just need to make a few extra stops along the way. That isn’t unreasonable.
“Of course, I’ll try,” I reply.
“No, you will do. I’m not envious of your compassion for others, but you often forget its existence and barrel on ahead. This isn’t where you came from. If you don’t die from stupidity, it’s likely you will live about a thousand years. Don’t be in a rush.” Regardless of her motherly teaching, she still is effectively the authority here, and I feel her assert as such with these directions. She isn’t giving me any room to interpret. Her way, or the highway, eh?
Honestly, I can’t really dispute her without causing trouble, so I just agree. “Yes, Ma’am.” Besides, a thousand years? That’s certainly some perspective. I’m not sure I’ll know what to do with that much time.
“Finally, Glen.” We all look around, and spot the proverbial deer in the headlights, not too far off. Seems he has been ignoring us and finishing his tasks of tying everyone up and together.
“Ma’am.” He looks exceptionally nervous and wrings his cap between his hands.
“Tell your wife, no one here is to die. She has suitable punishments for all of them. That’s all.” Gaia kept it short and concise. Glen surely appreciated it. He seems the quiet type, unless he has something specific to say, I guess.
Bowing his head, he replies, “Ma’am,” and carries on verifying everyone was properly tied up.
“Then, I will be watching.” The light-like Gaia unfolds like a flower blooming, and withers away as rising particles of light, as the beam from above ceased.
Once it was done, all of the inhabitants of the town slowly come to as if waking from a deep sleep, full of grogginess and grump. Emphasis on the grump. I try to quietly find somewhere to be alone with my thoughts for a while, but it turns out that two flowers kept me in place. One actual plant-dryad-flower, one proverbial furry-not-plant-flower. Each took an arm and made sure I am well aware of everything that is happening. I suppose this is in accord with what Gaia has requested.
Dubhe mentions something like ‘keeping me out of trouble as part of her duty.’
Lilia responds with something along the lines of “Right, we must lead him like that guy, and make sure he doesn’t start bushes on fire. Lightning might break rocks and spew laws if he does.”
I don’t think that’s what that story is about. How do you even know that about it? That’s from my world, not yours!
Not willing to be outdone, Dubhe confirmed something more of said story. “Well, darling wouldn’t do something so strange, we’d be worried if he kept walls of food suspended with force from Lilia, and told her to walk through without eating them.”
I can’t even. Wait, what? I’m not Moses. Again, where do you guys get these stories? And how do you misinterpret them so badly?
Lilia is deep in thought while I recover from shock, then presents another piece of evidence against me: “Isn’t he? He makes ice from the air? Where does it come from? He doesn’t even strike rocks first… Did you start a bush on fire somewhere?”
“NO.” My head.
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! RIP my free time. I hate packing. I used to own so little I could fit all of it in one sedan. Now I have a wife and kids, and I can’t even fit everything in the house, let alone a car…