After lunch, I exited the house, and saw something strange. It looked like there was someone else in the orckin’s pen.
That doesn’t make much sense. Lillia has reinforced both the prison area and the pen with her dryad-fabricated, super hard branches. Even I am hard pressed to break one. Not only that, but there is no door to the pen nor prison. Food is delivered through a small opening.
Either way, I look, and don’t see anything odd. Well… I guess.
The orckin seems to be breathing heavily. Maybe it was exercising? It is getting a bit pudgy lately. It has been close to four months since coming here, and two months of travel, so six months of being confined. Anyone would put on a bit of heft with no exercise like that.
“Brendan.” I call out to her neighbor. She can’t speak, so asking her what was going on won’t be very useful. Him, however, he can speak, and has uncanny observation skills. If he would answer, however, is another matter entirely.
“Ah, my keeper, to what do I owe the pleasure?” He speaks in such a silky smooth way. It must have been what disarmed those around him before. I hate talking to him.
“I would tell you to change the way you speak but that’s neither going to happen nor important. Do you know why the orckin seems…out of breath?” It feels good to tell him I can see right through him.
“I do.” While he is obligated to tell the truth when it matters, per agreement with the Arbitrator, ‘when it matters’ is a very subjective thing. What actually matters to him?
“So, why is it?” He’s being evasive to feel needed. This guy gets a power trip off the strangest things.
“Ah, well, it is related to how she is gaining weight, I suppose.” He trails off, craning his neck to try and see his neighbor.
Looking at her again, she seemed to be doing fine now… Like this short period of time allowed her to regain herself. Thinking back, maybe I was overthinking things? I glance at Brendan again. He’s fixing his hair.
“Hm, okay. Let me know if she starts acting weird, okay?”
He smiles at me. That smiles hide everything. “Of course, boss.”
Maybe Lillia knows something. She seems to know quite a bit, but rarely actually thinks about it. Also, being pregnant again, she is a bit vacant. I’m still a bit flustered about the whole thing. Why does Melsy allow that? I mean, it’s wonderful. For me. I guess? It’s so confusing. Is it a test? Did I fail? Although, Melsy was pretty adamant than I follow through if I cared for Lillia and would enjoy it. Was Lillia threatening her? I just don’t understand them.
Girls. Women. So confusing.
Lillia seems to be sunning herself. It always makes me wonder, why do they grow their children like a hume, instead of like a plant? Don’t they have more energy stored in their roots?
Take a Dryad Woman… And suddenly the world seems so simple by comparison.
“Lillia, uh, are you.” I pause. What do I say? Are you alive? Aware? Lucid? No, better go more generic. Wait, just ask the question. “Uh, rather, do you know what is going on with the orckin? She seems odd, and you tend to keep an ear open for…things.”
Does her opening her mouth count as a response?
Oh, she’s going to say something! “Which one?”
What? “The orckin, the female orckin, in the cage you made.” Which one? What does that mean?
“She is fine.”
Oh, good. I guess. Which one? There is more than one? I’m confused even more now.
“How many orckin’ses, er, however you say it, are there in our area?” Wow, I feel dumb right now, I should have planned this conversation out a bit better.
“Melsy!” I yell out blindly.
“Stop yelling! You’re going to scare the children and we don’t like that!” Goddess help me. Dubhe, stop yelling back!
Author’s Note: Thanks for the support! Sorry for the shorter chapter. When I review for publishing, there is definitely come to be added here.