This Gaia Tree is almost the opposite of those in the enclave. The rooms are accessed from the inside instead of the outside. It is both interesting and odd. Odd because I haven’t seen something like this before. Interesting because it is different. New.
“Child, look over the edge.” Melsy uses her hand to direct me to a ledge that juts out just past where the spiral staircase joins the platform we are on.
Looking over it, I can’t see the bottom. “Wow, it’s so deep.”
I feel a sense of unease, and the hair on the back of my neck prickle. Turning around, and looking back, Melsy is smiling at me. Did her scales just glow a bit?
A strong gust of air comes in from the entrance of the Gaia Tree. So strong, that I take a step back to brace myself. I may be strong, as a void, but I still don’t weigh much.
However, that was a mistake. I had forgotten that I was standing on a ledge; there’s nothing behind me.
“NO!” I reach out with one hand to Melsy, and hold Nanook tightly with the other. I can’t let this happen! Maybe if I toss Nanook to Melsy? He can’t die like this! What? Melsy isn’t trying to grab my hand!
I move to toss Nanook, but another gust, this one very cold, rushes into my face, causing me to close my eyes. Curses! My son. I must protect him. I curl myself around him as I fall, then use what runes I have to create a wind to slow my decent.
If I had been more prepared, I could have better planned a landing, but even then, a young child like him wouldn’t be able to withstand the impact, even if my legs can. The best I can do to save him is use my body. I’ll probably heal eventually. Voids are strong, after all. Lillia, dang… No, I don’t want her to take care of my son. Otsu, Miss Arbitrator, Randi… Take care of my son while I heal! Please!
Suddenly, I feel warm arms around me, holding me close. They firmly pull me in, and I feel like we’re slowing down.
“Melsy!” Her wings are out, and she is carrying me princess style, with Nanook nestled in. Should I be mad at her? Or happy that she saved us? A strong updraft is slowing our decent, despite her wings being mostly unmoving. I’m definitely mad.
I look down and check on Nanook, who seems to be very awake and aware. He’s looking down below us from around my arms. He’s smiling! That daredevil. I was terrified for you!
As soon as we touch down, I jump out of Melsy’s arms. “You did that on purpose! You wench, I have a son!” I shake my free fist at her, trying to threaten her. She is a dragonfolk, though. This probably means nothing to her. Its upsetting that I can’t retaliate in any meaningful way.
“You’re fine, look, all in one piece!” She has that same infernal smug smile that Tristain always has.
“You two deserve each other. Damn… D-damn… Cursed… Fiend!” What if I had dropped Nanook?! What if she didn’t reach us in time? That was dangerous, no matter how you look at it!
“Look, the center of the Gaia Tree has the most powerful anti-fall… er… magic? What do you even call it? Anyways, neither of you would have been hurt regardless.”
It doesn’t matter! This woman pisses me off!
I swing my free fist at her, this time aiming to hit her. It bounces off something soft and squishy. Light dissipates into the air after the impact hit an invisible wall.
“Ooh, Tristain was right, you are quite the powerful Void. Sorry child, I was just testing you. If you didn’t get serious, it wouldn’t have been accurate. I don’t want to fight you.”
Yeah! Well now I want to fight you! You jerk. You endangered my son.
“Mika Food! Come see my children!” Lillia interrupts. Dubhe stands behind her.
“Hrmmmmm. You watch yourself.” I point at Melsy, then turn and walk away… Maybe it’ll be nice to talk to Lillia again? At least I know what to expect from her.
“So scary~. Tristain, why do you pick the scary ones~?” I can hear your mumbles, Melusine.
“Don’t hold it against her, Mika. We think we know why she did it.” Dubhe addresses me with a very serious tone, putting a hand on my shoulder.
Huh? What does she mean?
“This is your son, right?” She points to my Nanook.
“Yes, he is.” Nanook is looking around at all the new people. He is particularly interested in the vine coming off of the baby dryad laying in an impossible angle on Lillia’s chest. It is teasing him, slowly wagging back and forth with a single leaf on the tip.
“We see, so you are like Us.” She has a somewhat sad smile on her face. How am I like a bearfolk and a dryad, and a dragonfolk? Now that I think about it, how did these three even come to be together? That philandering Tristain. Someone needs to hurt him good.
“Oh, Mika Food is family too?” Lillia looks closely at Nanook.
“No, you dumb-as-rocks tree girl.” Melsy comes from behind me and pushes Lillia back with a hand on her face. “She’s the same race.” Wha… You just pushed a dryad back… That’s super dangerous… Maybe before I knew Dryads were dangerous, I would do something like that. Not now, though. That is asking to get clobbered and eaten.
Wait. Huh? Race? What does she mean? I’m a hume.
Dubhe fills me in: “Your son is a bearfolk. You’re a hume.”
Author’s Note: Thanks for the support! I am in your care!