Well, I need to get going, and that means she needs to wake up and eat while I finish breakfast, or we’ll both leave much later than anticipated. I poke her cheek a few times, but she doesn’t respond.
I look back at the elder. The elder just looks away like it’s none of her business. Man, I didn’t ask for more responsibility! I quickly dismiss the thought that maybe I should have let them go hungry for a day. Clearly they’re skimp already; denying them more would be very distasteful.
How should I do this? I don’t want to waste more time than I need, but I also don’t know her well enough to just dump her out of the hammock. I guess I need to try a few things.
I blow in her ear. I can’t tell if she has actual ear lobes with all the feathers, but it seems like she can control the feathers around her ears because they twitch. She still doesn’t wake up though.
“Er, come on, time to get up, sunshine!” I shake her shoulder gently. She clacks her teeth a few times, then curls into the hammock even more. She finishes by covering her whole body with her wings.
Welp. That’s about as gentle as it gets.
I slowly start tilting the hammock. More. More. Any moment now, she’ll fall out.
“Ah!” She makes a strange noise and flails her wings as she falls. I put my arms up to defend against the wild, indiscriminate thrashing.
Quickly, she rights herself into a defensive crouch, and looks around wildly.
“Morning! What’s your name?” I wave and smile.
“You named. Sunshine!” The elder yells over.
Really? That, that wasn’t what that meant. I hold my head with one hand. Okay, well, let’s get this show on the road. I grab one of the nut halves from earlier from the ground, and hand it to her. “Eat up, Sunshine.”
“Mmm!” She coos in response and takes a very large bite before handing it back to me. I’m not sure what to think. On the one side, that wasn’t 1% of a fruit. It was more like 5%. On the other side, the whole half is her’s to eat… this time.
I smile sadly. This is going to be hard, I think. I feel bad for them, effectively starving themselves into population control. “No, no. All yours. You eat it all.” I push it back to her.
She blinks at me a few times and points at her belly before looking over to the elder, who is walking around letting the rest of them take a single bite before moving on. I can understand her confusion.
“Eat up, you’re coming with me. I guess that will help everyone out, and I owe a debt for a faux pas, so, yeah. We’ll be traveling very far, so you need lots of energy.” I point back at her belly to emphasize.
“Huh?” She questions the elder.
“Your business. You go. Don’t care.” It seems the elder is still paying attention, as she yells back over he shoulder.
I’m going to guess that somehow I’ve made another mistake in inter-racial social relations here. Something seems very fishy. Like Melsy, miss Sunshine’s runes shift colors subtly, and the pinks get brighter. She sits down, nibbling at the nut as a slow smile spreads across her face. Once in a while, she coos.
Well, as long as you’re happy, healthy, and can keep up, I guess I don’t care.
I pack the hammock up in my bag since it’s no longer in use, then put the rest of the nuts in the center of my cloth-like bag made from the tarp. I tie up the corners to keep them from falling out. It’s more luggage, but the good kind. I can deal with an extra bit of weight for a day if it means we have food.
Miss Sunshine is eating pretty slowly, so I encourage her. I’m in a hurry! “I’m going to finish mine,” I point to my half before continuing. “Then we’re going to leave, so hurry up. I need to head out so we can find Melsy.”
She smiles back at me. Does she even understand what I’m saying? I’m sure I bit off more than I can chew here. (Editor’s Note: Well, I guess his nuts are in a bind) (Author’s note: I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.)
With that in mind, I scarf my half of the nut. It really is delicious. And filling. Next time, perhaps even just a quarter of a nut will be plenty for a whole day. It must be more energy rich than a Lillia fruit. Maybe Lillia fruits have other nutrients that are important? It’s impossible to tell without advanced technology. Maybe I can keep a log of my experience with food vs. energy some day.
With that it’s time to go. “Okay, let’s get going!” I hop into the sky and swim around like a fish in a sock, circling back for Sunshine. It’s a bit harder with this extra bag in my hands, but I’ll manage. I look down for the girl, but don’t see her anywhere in the canopy anymore.
I’m a bit taken aback when I see her just behind me, following in my wake. She smiles at me. She must be riding my trail. That’s good. Since I use my runes for flying, it doesn’t take much physical effort. I imagine with wings, it must take quite a bit of energy, so using any gain from drafting is probably a good idea.
“Well, lets see if you really can keep up,” I mutter.
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading and all the support!