After I was done feeling super embarrassed, I put myself back together. I took a seat after sliding my back down the nearest tree. The intruding bearfolk woman did as well, sitting next to me.
“It’s unusual to see such a thing in this forest. Actually, it’s unusual to see humes or other dryads this close to the library. I came to see what the odd smells were. I can honestly say, I never expected to see a hume male doing that.” She seemed like the honest type, but I really wish she would drop the subject. Also, why is she talking to me?
“Ah, w-well, Gaia said I should go to the ‘Great Ursine Library’… or something. A bunch of stuff happened, so Dubhe is bringing me at Gaia’s direction…” I was still super embarrassed. I mean, it’s not like I was in a closed room, but I tried to make sure no one was around… And it’s the middle of the night. I would have expected most creatures to be asleep.
“Hooooo? Gaia, huh. That’s rare. Well, if Gaia says so, I suppose no one can argue. She is the boss, after all.” She goes quiet for a moment, before continuing. “Still, it’s an odd trio to see traveling the woods. Bearfolk and Humes are pretty bottom rung. To be traveling with a Dryad… How did you make that work out?”
“Hah. It was really fun for a while, and Lillia’s super cute… but Gaia started the rain again… And now she’s just following us despondently… I don’t even know why anymore. I thought we had some sort of agreement, but she honestly doesn’t need me for anything anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if she left any time now.” I must sound so pathetic, but I can’t help it. I’ve had no one to talk to for months, and this bearfolk just seems so nice.
“Hm… Well, don’t fret over it too much. Those Dryads are something else. You can never guess what they’re thinking about. They are completely different from the other races. Gaia gave them a purpose. The rest of us aren’t so lucky.” She smiles a toothy, but warm grin. It feels just a bit sad.
“Yeah, I suppose. I never really understand what other people are thinking anyways. You think at first that everything is great, but somehow it always goes downhill. Now I have two kids on the way, a woman who barely acknowledges my existence, and a woman who treats me like a slave.” I sigh, slouching further against the tree. It was so relaxing to tell someone about this… but at the same time, she’s a complete stranger! What am I doing, really?
“Hahaha, only two? I think you’re mistaken. That’s definitely a litter Dubhe is carrying. You’ll be lucky if you get by with less than four. Still, I didn’t know humes and bearfolk could mate.” Her amusement at my newly understood misfortune was clear on her face. I’m sure I was also smiling… in horror. “Haha, that face is so cute, I can see why she adores you. Not every male gets asked to attend to their female, after all. Some are even put down immediately after the fun part is done. A girl’s got to eat to feed her growing young, after all. It’s good that she cares so much for you.”
Wait… what?! They resort to cannibalism?
“Well, I should be getting back before the den mother gets mad. I’ll see you tomorrow at the library. Don’t worry too much, it’ll all work out.” She pats my very very confused head, then disappears into the darkness.
S-so, I’m going to have like five kids?! What the hell?!
What. The. Hell.
How do you even take care of that many kids at one time? One child – at a time – in my previous life was hardly doable. I figured two… would be somewhat achievable as there’ll be two mothers… But five? I was already worried about having two anyway… But five?
Okay. I need to be quick about my learning and adventure here at the library and build a house. It would be bad to be carting around five infants in the middle of a dangerous forest. Granted, in this area, the largest danger is other bearfolk, and they have taken to avoiding us. Mostly, they see the girls, and turn around. I suspect there is some rule that forbids them from attacking expecting mothers.
Still, I just found out about orcs the other day. They seem quite violent. Not to mention I’ve hardly gone far. Thinking about it realistically, we walk maybe eight or nine hours a day? That would max out at 40 miles a day… But we’re in a forest. We’d be lucky to hit 20 miles a day. Even though that’s more like 4000 miles over the last several months, it literally is in a straight line. I think. There must be so much more out there. For example, apparently, there are dragonfolk? Dubhe won’t talk about them though. She keeps telling me that it’s a hassle, and the library is a much better place to learn about things.
Well, I need to get some sleep, or tomorrow will be difficult. Erm, more difficult. I should get back to camp and go to bed.
Wow, five children.
Still, I don’t understand bearfolk culture. Fighting with your life on the line for the chance to mate… with the understanding that you might just be offed as soon as you’re done. That’s somewhat disturbing.
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! Sorry it’s late… I have excuses, but I won’t give them…
We will be going down to one chapter a week for the month of December. I’m sorry.
Editor has a heavy school load;
I have alot of work to do replacing all the electrical in my house. Google “Knob and Tube Wiring” if you want to know how my house is wired.
Hopefully it will pick back up after the holidays. I still have a few chapter ahead, so no worries about it dying, we just need to slow down the pace a bit so everyone can enjoy the holidays.