“So… This one… is a ‘power source,’” I point to another one, “and this one transmits power and can split or route it to other runes…” The runes themselves were somewhat complicated looking, but their function seemed functionally straight forward. Over the course of the last… however long it has been… I had a come to the general understanding of the basic Runes, and how to join them. We had spread sheets of smooth white bark, which apparently came from specific parts of the trees, (nearly all other bark on the trees was a rough brown texture) on the floor, and were talking about certain symbols on them.
“Yes, but remember, those are their primary functions. There are also secondary and tertiary functions that can multiply, and in a large arrangement cause very dire unexpected situations, or even out rank the primary expected results.” She pointed from pultrusions on symbols in turn, each one slightly different from the primary, significantly larger endpoint on the symbol.
“I see…” This made my mind eager, and my blood boiled with excitement. I definitely wanted to spend more time on this, and make lots of cool effects.
“And, remember, power source runes heat up when in use, so if you put too much through them, they will burn your skin, possibly even exploding and killing you.” Mika warned me for about the 30th time. She looked quite tired by this point.
“I see…” I was quite tired as well, now that I thought about it. It wasn’t even dark though, and the sunlight continued to stream in the windows and doorway. “I’m tired, this is hard work. You want to take a nap?” We had been snacking on these fruits that grew from the ceiling. They were, without a doubt filling, refreshing and delicious. They could not be compared to any fruit I had ever had before. What they did not provide, however, was stamina.
“Oh, please, I was wondering when you would ask. I couldn’t believe you would stay awake for so long.” Mika got up from her sitting position and lazily crawled on all fours over to a couch like bush not unlike those outside, and laid down on it.
I was slightly amazed, but I’m pretty sure she was instantly sleeping. I stood up myself, and realized there really was no need for a blanket, since it was quite comfortably warm. Then found myself teetering over to the bed like structure, and collapsing on it. I thought briefly about how it wasn’t my bed, and that I should sleep on the couch or something, but I was too tired to care.
I remember waking at some point, felt some sort of warmth, and went back to sleep. It was comfortable. In fact, these beds were unreal.
My thoughts drifted loosely in dreamland for a while, until I realized I was dreaming, and instantly sat up in the bed. Looking around the room, Mika was already awake, and appeared to be drawing something on one of the sheets of bark with a small twig. I got up and walked over to her, looking at her work. She looked up to me and I smiled back at her. “Uh, is there like… a shower somewhere?”
“Huh?” She looked confused by the term.
Lets try again. “Or maybe a bath?”
“Uh… I don’t know what those words are.” Her brow was furrowed and her face held a frown.
This isn’t good. I take a shower every morning. It’s a ritual. I can’t not take a shower. I’ll feel weird all day. “How do you wash yourself, like with water and soap?” Surely soap, the tree must produce something like that if it provides all.
A blank stare is all I got back. Wow, her face looks pretty, I hadn’t noticed that before. Sky blue eyes, and brown, slightly wavy hair. I reach out to feel her hair, then think for a moment that I am definitely being a creeper, and turn away embarrassed. “Ah, sorry, uh, what do you do when you get dirty then? Actually, i haven’t seen water anywhere…”
“Dirty?” She looked at my back in thought, as I craned my head back around to see her face as she spoke. “Uh, the clothes you wear, they clean themselves and your body when you sleep. So we don’t really get dirty. See even the dirt from you falling has been absorbed.” Sure enough, I could not see dirt anywhere. “And what is water?”
It was my turn to give a blank stare, but I am sure I had turned it more into a horrified one. “Water?” I couldn’t even comprehend not knowing what water was. I grab one of the fruits from the ceiling, and use my fingers to dig a chunk of the flesh out, liquid dripping from my fingers.
Mika looks horrified. Not just a little horrified, but like I just killed her best friend level of horrified.
“Put that in your mouth, quickly.” She stands and shields me and the fruit from the doorway, looking over her shoulder nervously, then presses the fruit to my mouth. “We shouldn’t waste the fruit of the Tree, it is sacred. You will blaspheme yourself and the Tree if you do such things.”
“O-oh, okay.” I eat the torn piece in my hand, and start eating the remaining piece after swallowing.
“You must never disrespect the Tree. It is our life. Do not tell others about what just happened. You may be returned to the soil, as a corrupted, and sealed forever.” She seemed truly terrified. I wanted to ask many questions, but I didn’t feel it was okay to inflict those feeling of fear to press the issue further.
After licking my fingers clean of the fruit juices (Yes, it is that good), I resumed my question, albeit, in a new light. “Right, water, so the juice of these fruits, they have water in them, just like our mouths have water in them, and our blood.” I stuck my finger in my mouth and got some saliva out, to demonstrate. Now, I know this is probably disgusting, but the only other place i could think that water comes from probably wasn’t appropriate.
And I began to regret my decision either way. Now instead of being terrified for our lives, she flushed a bright shade of pink. “C-could you not , Uhm, i mean, I’m not, uh… Huuuuu, you d-don’t know. Uh, when people share uh…” Somehow I could imagine real steam coming out of her ears, it was somewhat cute, and very entertaining to watch her fluster around. She was trying to find anywhere but my face to look, and kept fidgeting with her hands.
“Ah, sorry.” I slowly put the finger back in my mouth, and made sure there was no saliva on it, watching her reaction as I did so. “Better?”
“Y-yeah, uh, so, you clean yourself with, uh,” She was flushing red again.
I put my head in my hands. I knew where this was going. “NO.”
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! BONUS chapter, woohoo (I have 21 chapters in backlog)!
I’m still looking for someone to artist a banner for my story. It’s a bit in the future, (but already written) – but I want someone to draw me a banner with a Dryad on it. I can paypal $30-$50 USD commission (more if you can prove its worth it…) if someone is interested. Hit me up on discord for details (and maybe a sneak peak of the chapter this character arrives in). Please don’t come with a finished product, I want input. Also, please have samples to show of other works you’ve done.