Someone shook him as he blinked awake. Syl was standing over him with her hands on his shoulders and still shaking him.
"Wake up, Vidian."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," He yawned and sat up, "'Morning."
"Good morning," She smiled, seeming less cold than the night before, "Are you hungry? Do you want some of my food?"
"Sure, if it is fine with you."
"Okay," She smiled kindly, it seemed weird for him, she had seemed cold when they met and it quickly warmed up between them as they spoke the night before. She seemed much too kind, maybe she realized how important he was and that maybe it would be a good thing for her to help him, "Do you know anything about Lord Inventaariy?"
"Not much, he has three lesser gods, and is the God of Progress."
"Oh, maybe Silvia can help you," She said as she combed her hair, "What can your arms do?"
"Anything, well, many things, like you saw yesterday with the Dalama, and with your hair," He explained, "Eternum's blessing allows me to do anything with them, but I have to try things still I've only used it so much."
"Wow, I will bring you to Silvia, she lives near Lord Inventaariy's home, or stay."
"Thanks like, for everything, for housing me, and convincing Silvia to let me stay here."
"You are Eternum's Trusted."
"I guess," A knock came on the door. Syl walked to the door and opened it, she bowed her head and Silvia walked in.
"Lord Inventaariy agreed to speak with you, follow me," Silvia said turning around and walking out of the door. He looked at Syl and she shrugged, he got up and hurried to catch up to her. She walked ahead of him as some Naturas looked at them both, looking curious and scared of Vidian.
She pushed open the doors to a house that overlooked the entire city. Large bookcases greeted them with a decorated, clean living place and a figure sitting his back to the door holding a book in his hands. He slowly turned his chair and faced the. He was wearing a house robe and had weird, soft-looking shoes, he pushed his glasses up and put his book down. Silvia kneeled in front of him. He nodded his head and she left the house. He gestured for Vidian to sit and a chair appeared next to him. He leaned back, with his elbows on the armrest and his fingers touching at the tip in front of him.
"Nice to meet you, Vidian, I am Inventaariy, the God of Progress, and the Intellectual God, how are you doing today?"
"Sore, I really hope there is no physical effort in these tasks."
"There will not be any such effort, but mental exhaustion might be something to look into," He said with an insulting undertone, "You have, Orn's and Structania's blessings, good, good, at least you can follow an order, humans aren't as dull as I thought, I know you are here for my blessing, maybe you should meet my lesser gods, what do you think?"
"Sure, I am fine with that," He responded and Inventaariy snapped his fingers.
"Argumenty! Justicearinaian! Parlamentyra! We have a guest! Come down here!" He called, "They are my lesser gods, they will give you my works, here they are, Parlamentyra, the Goddess of Thinking, Argumenty, the God of Debate and Justicearinaian, the God of Justice, as his name indicates, they will give you your works, you will start with Justicearinaian, give him the work of Justice, it should be an easier start," He pointed at Justicearinaian, "Come on, we only have so much time, this mortal has a quest for Lord Eternum to complete, so chop-chop."
"Yes, Lord Inventaariy," Justicearinaian said bowing his head, "Follow me, Vidian of the Great Desert," Vidian followed Justicearinaian into a room that was pitch black. He lead him in and closed the door, "Welcome to your first work," Light flooded the room and revealed a completely empty room, "This is the trial room, here, drink this," He handed him a small flask of pink liquid, "Don't worry, it is for the work," Vidian nodded and drank the liquid. It was bitter, absolutely disgusting, "Here," He handed him another glass and Vidian drank it, this time, it was water. It nullified the taste of the liquid, "How are you feeling, Vidian? Dizzy? Sick?"
"No, I feel-," He bent over and held his chest, his vision began spinning, He fell to his knees and felt like he was going to die. His head was throbbing, his heart was beating out of his chest and his body felt weak. It suddenly stopped. He looked up and saw a room, very, very different to the one he had been in before, there were three people, one Natura, one Human and a Darkkin. Justicearinaian was standing by a table of weapons and walked to help Vidian back to his feet, pulling him from the floor, "What the hell is this?"
"This is my work, the work of justice."
"What am I supposed to do?"
"They are guilty of crimes, there is a woman Natura, a male Human, and a Darkkin, ask them their crimes, and tell them what you are here to do, you can kill one, and save one, the other will be judged another day."
"Have you ever killed someone?"
"Yes, I have, twice."
"At least this will only add one to your list," Vidian grabbed a chair from the table and walked towards the three hooded figures, they were all bond and placed on their knees, they had bags over their heads. He sat down in front of the Natura, and tapped her head. She slowly lifted her bagged head.
"What do you want?" She sounded guilty.
"I am Justicearinaian's hand, I want to hear your story to deliver the fitting justice for you, speak."
"I am a Natura, I am guilty of a crime that banished me from my home, near the Forest of the Uncanny," She sighed, "I killed my partner, and tried to hide it, lying to my people, breaking the Natura's written-in-stone law of truth, we honor truth above all, whether harmful or not, all I want is forgiveness, or, maybe I perish and my soul will go to the gods."
"Why did you kill your partner?"
"He hit me, he abused me, he was cruel, he raped me twice, he was greedy and never wanted to help me or try to make me happy, he always forced me to make him happy, but never once he gave me happiness, which is why I killed him."
"How did you kill him?"
"Painlessly, in his sleep, I drove a blade in his throat, he shouldn't have felt anything, I didn't want to be cruel, please, don't let me suffer if I must die, do the same for me like I did for him, if I really must die," She pleaded.
"I'll see about that, just wait, I have more work before I get to choosing."
"Please, consider my plead."
"I will," He picked up the chair and walked it to the next bagged figure, "Hello there, I am Justicearinaian's hand, I want to hear your story to deliver the fitting justice for you, speak."
"You are but a tool," The man hissed, "I don't care what you do to me, I won't tell you my story, for what? So you can kill me?"
"Tell me your story."
"Do I need to?" The man barked, "You are nothing, you should just kill me! End my suffering, I killed, I don't need to live."
"Who did you kill?"
"My master," He felt a thud in his chest, "I was beat and whipped by him, I killed him one night and ran, I never looked back, but someone recognized me and, and, and, and I was arrested, then put on trial, but instead of chose, the judge allowed Lord Justicearinaian to choose my fate, I have nothing else to say."
"How did you kill him?"
"I-I stabbed him in the heart, in front of him, as I walked up to him," The man sighed, "I don't think I made him suffer, I stabbed him over and over again, to make sure he was dead, I never wanted to see or hear of him again."
"Do you want to die?"
"No, I don't want to die, I wanted to be free, but if I need to, I will die, I would still be free."
"I'll think about it," Vidian moved to the last man, the Darkkin, "Tell me your story, I am here to judge you."
"Don't treat me like a simple man, do you know who I am?"
"No, but I might want to hear it."
"I am a Darkkin Lord, I am a very important man, I demand you to give me a superior treatment, and I don't need to be judged."
"Okay, but what did you do?"
"Nothing important, I don't even know why I am even being judged, I am a Darkkin Lord in a Celenstial city, what is so bad about killing your wife? She was only one of my wives, and she failed to give me a son."
"How many wives do you have?"
"I have four, had four," He seemed to joke about it, "I have no children and 5 daughters."
"They don't count?"
"They are not sons, of course they don't, I would appreciate if you just let me go and free me, I have more wealth to make, maybe I could share some with you," The man said, "You could become my assistant, you would be rich and have all the women you want."
"I'll think about your case."
"Wait! You could have anything, I didn't commit a crime, killing my wife, bah, that's nothing, free me and I'll make you a wealthy man, a powerful man."
"I said," Vidian said getting pissed off, "I'll think about it," He got up and returned to Justicearinaian's side, "I think I made my choice, on who to kill and who to free."
"Go ahead, the weapons are here for you to use."
"I don't need them," He said as he paced around the three bagged figures. He walked to the Darkkin man, "I don't think that you need to be on this earth, nor do you deserve it, and to bribe me? You are nothing but a cruel creature with no reason of living," He stopped pacing and stood in front of the man, "I have made my choice, you tried to corrupt my decision with money, you spoke bitterly of woman, as if they were your objects, your possessions, I disagree that killing your wife doesn't matter, I believe that your family is better off without you, I need no more to say," His arm turned into a razor sharp blade and he placed it under the man's neck, "I believe that you had no reason to kill, and yet you try to justify it, I would honor Lord Boros, but the human side of me wants to end you painlessly, no need to torture you," He looked back at Justicearinaian and he nodded. The blade moved under the man's throat and his body fell limp to the floor, without a cry of pain or of surprise. He walked to the other two and unhooded them, revealing his face to them, he cut their bounds and smiled and they nodded to thank him, before his sight began blurring and then he was in the room that Justicearinaian had brought him to first.
"I saw something in you as you heard the human's story, could his story be something familiar to your own?"
"Yeah, did I pass the work?"
"I feel it was simple for you, you didn't take the bride and your judgement was nearly perfect, most people would contemplate the bribe or the master killer as their choice, I see you saw a personal connection to that man, lucky for him, I would have judged the same, I believe you past, good job, but now, you have another work, that of Argumenty, the God of Debate, go back to the main room, if you want, tell Lord Inventaariy and you can take a break."
"I think I will, thanks," He bowed his head and left the room. His head was filled with his memories of his past, the time he killed his master, and then getting save from his own mistake. He walked down the wooden stairs of the house, he arrived near Inventaariy.
"I think I will continue my tasks tomorrow."
"Hmm? Oh, yes, of course, we gods have all the time in the world."
"Thank you," He walked out of the house and back into the moving city. He slowly walked down the streets, catching looks from the Natura people walking through the streets, they look at him then avoided his look and talked about him. He leaned on one of the railings of the tree city, looking over the city and sighed, he closed his eyes, and his mind was blank. He felt someone place their hand on his shoulder. He opened his eyes and turned his head then saw Syl.
"What are you doing?"
"Nothing, the task brought up bad memories, opened old scars, made me bleed," He sighed looked over the city, "What are you doing here?"
"I saw you standing here, what was the task?"
"The work of Justice," He sighed, "I had to be the hand of justice, so 2 people live, 1 person dies, I had to choose."
"I don't know if it was on purpose, but one of them had my exact story, but he seemed older than I was," Vidian looked up towards the sky. He sighed as he looked at the clouds drift in the sky. He felt something turn his head, it was Syl's hair magic, "What?"
"S-sure, where are we going?" He said as she pulled his arm, dragging him down the streets of the city, "Syl! Where are we going?"
"Shut up already, just follow me."
She pushed him into a room, "There."
She clapped her hands and the vine curtain turned into a door and sealed itself. He looked around the room and recognized her house. He turned around seeing Syl walking towards him, "Why did you lie to me?"
"When did I do that?" He looked at her puzzled, "I don't recall doing that."
"Maybe not lied, but you hid the truth from me, and only gave me a part of it."
"Okay, when was this then?"
"Yesterday, your quest," He noticed her face reveal her frustration, "You didn't tell me everything, before entering the city and in this room."
"How would you know if I did or didn't?"
"Don't give me that, tell me what your quest is," Her hair magic activated as she moved towards him, "I don't like being lied to, normally I can tell, but I couldn't see your face."
"Calm down, drop the face of anger, and stop with your hair thing, I'll explain it," He sighed, "You will be the first person I tell, maybe you'll believe me, maybe you won't, but fine, I'll tell you."
"I am listening," She sat down at the table as her magic faded, glaring at him, as if she despised him, "What could be so bad about it for you not to tell me?"
"I have to kill the Death of the World, but wait, I told you this yesterday," Her jaw dropped and she lost her air of anger, and was shocked, "Well whatever, Lord Eternum told me to, therefore I need the blessings of the gods, that is why I didn't tell you, I might die and fail, I don't want people to think high of me, I don't want to get attached to anyone, nor did I want anyone to know either, I don't know why, it is my quest, I want to make sure that I am only focused on my task nothing else."
"Oh," She looked down as if embarrassed, "I should've guessed that you wouldn't tell everyone that, you would seem crazy."
"Yeah, it's fine," He sat down next to her and placed his arm over her shoulder, "You wouldn't know."
"V-V-Vidian, w-what are you doing?" She stammered as her face turned pink, "Um, um, I d-d-don't know if w-w-we sh-should."
"Huh?" He raised his eyebrow, "What do you mean? I am just trying to be nice and comfort you, what were you thinking?"
"Oh, I was thinking of something else, but it's fine."
"If you say so," He withdrew his arm, "How about opening the door?"
"Oh, yeah," She clapped her hands and the vines withdrew leaving the vine curtain that was originally there, "Are you hungry?"
"Can't say I'm not."
"I think I have enough for both, I should have enough, thirsty?"
"Do you have multiple personalities?"
"Why would you ask me that?"
"You were cold yesterday when we met and now you are warm and kind, why?" Vidian said as she placed a wooden glass on the table, with the sap she was drinking the night before. He picked up the glass and looked in the cup and swirled the liquid and then grimaced a little as he smelled it. She smiled and laughed softly and drank her cup. He looked at her then back at the cup and began drinking, a tiny sip. He swallowed the liquid and then looked blankly at his cup, he expected something worse, then found something that tasted like water. He lifted his head and looked at her, but she answered his unspoken question.
"The sap is full of water, mostly at least, it is like the blood of the Golem, that is why some nights it moves more than others, to find water, the sap is thick because of the inside of the Golem, but it tastes like water."
"I expected something different."
"I know, but are you fine eating things we eat?"
"Why would I not? I might be here for more than a day."
"Okay, I guess if you are here much."
"What do you do, like, during the day?"
"Nothing much, I did my guard tour last night, but it was cut short, I have the next one, tomorrow, during the day, then I have a break, we rotate, a night and a day then we have a break, and repeat, that is what I do, even if we have breaks between shifts, but it is fun to actually have a day off."
"It is, but it is for our survival."
"Do you know why you are hiding?"
"Stories say that our elders tell us, say that we were rejected early after the creation of the other races, even if we were trying to help them, we, we were rejected, I thought that all the races hated us and that there was no exception, but clearly, I was wrong, probably most of us are wrong about you humans, maybe even other races."
"Um, why are you this close to me?" He said as she sat down on his lap, facing him. She clapped and the door closed again, "Syl, what are you doing? Why did you block the door again?"
"I don't know," She said, she wrapped her arms around him and moved her mouth near his ear and whispered, "Do you think I am pretty? Don't lie."
"I tried not to make that judgement, I tried not to."
"Did you fail?"
"Now that you ask, yeah, I thought of it."
"So, what do you think?" She said moving her head back to in front of his, "Tell me, we are alone, no one can judge you."
"Yeah," He mumbled, "I think you are pretty."
"I didn't hear you, what did you say?" She said making him look at her, "Why are you blushing? Do you think I am pretty?"
"Yeah, um, yeah, I guess," He said turning his view away from her, and avoiding eye contact with her. He felt her move close to him, he felt her heat on his skin, it had been a long time since he had felt someone's touch this close, and like this. He felt her lips close on the edge of his ear. He pushed her back and stared at her blankly, he didn't know what to do.
"What is wrong? Are you new to this?" She said suddenly going from confused to sly, "I can teach you a thing or two, if you just let me."
"Um, well, new to what? I've kissed a girl before, but that is, that is like it."
"Aww, that seems boring, I've had a partner, but it didn't work out, we couldn't stand each other after a few days."
"I've never had a girl, so I don't know how it is to live with someone, I live, well, lived alone and just did small jobs to get money, even if I am only 20, I am awkward with girls, and yeah."
"You don't seem awkward with me, why not?" She said as she placed her arms on his shoulders and held her hands behind him, "And clearly, you like me, your eyes keep drifting to my chest," He realized it and blushed brightly, "You can look at them all you want, if you want, you can even remove these vines, and get a better view, maybe of my entire body if you want."
"Don't be so dull, don't you want to see more of me?"
"I-I-I d-d-don't know, I, um, I don't know what to do right now."
"You want me to help you?"
"S-s-sure, um, but, um, don't get too eager."
"Do you want to see my chest? My body?"
"I-I-I d-d-don't know."
"Maybe both," She said softly biting her lower lip and moving her arms behind her back and her top slowly loosened, "Come on, any male would do anything for this, why aren't you super eager?"
"I've never done this."
"Reason more, maybe I can persuade you a little? But without burning your hair," She moved her hands back onto his shoulders and her top slowly fell, Vidian looked away from her chest, as her top fell to the floor, "You can look, come on, don't make me embarrass myself, look."
"Stop stammering," She placed her hands on his face and turned it towards her and then leaned forwards, pressing her lips against his. His eyes were wide open, he didn't know how to react. She move away from him, "Is that enough?"
"That's not-," She kissed him again, cutting him off. He couldn't think straight, he had no idea what to do, maybe he should play with her like she was playing with him, but it seemed cruel to do that, yet maybe payback would help him calm his nervousness. He held her body close to his and stood up, holding her. She stopped kissing him and suddenly seemed nervous.
"D-d-d-d-don't drop me," She clung to him pushing her body closer to him, "Please," He smiled and moved his mouth to her neck and kissed her neck, making her moan. She covered her mouth and tried to hide what she had done.
"Cuter," He smiled as she showed a sign of nervousness, "I don't think that it would be fair for you to be all confident and me be the nervous one, I think we should be equal."
"C-c-can you put me down?"
"You don't like it here, close to me?"
"I do, but-but-but, not up here."
"Scared of heights?"
"Not exactly, j-just when I can't control my fate, I have to trust you, and, um, um, I d-don't like it."
"So you don't trust me?"
"I do, but, you k-know, I don't want to be carried, we could use the bed?"
"A hammock? There isn't enough space."
"Can you put me down?" He placed her feet on the floor and she stood up and clapped, "This is the beauty of living in a Tree Golem, we can morph our homes at our will," A branch frame extended from the wall and the hammock became a wide, vegetal cloth that had enough space for both of them, she sat down on it and lay on her side, and rest her head on her hand. He stayed where he was staring at her blankly, "Are you going to join me? Or are you just going to watch me?" He shook his head and blinked several times, "Come on, there is enough space for the two of us."
"Sure, but, like, I have no idea what I am doing."
"Don't worry," She said pulling him onto her, "Aren't your male instincts kicking in? My naked torso has to do something to you."
"I don't know what to think about it, I have never really seen anything like this before, so I don't know how to react," He said as he stood over her, looking down over her, "I guess my reaction isn't normal?"
"No, I would have expected more eagerness but since you are new, and probably never thought of being in this situation, I could show you why you should be eager, cherry boy."
"Huh? What does that mean?"
"Nothing, forget it, just let me guide you."
"Sure, um, but, um, yeah, no whatever."
"No, tell me, it's no fun if we aren't sure."
"Um, like, I have never done this."
"I know," She smiled, "You said that, just let me guide you, if you want to stop, tell me, I'll stop, if you don't, then still tell me, okay?"
"S-sure, I am fine with that," He said nervously, "Where sh-should I start?"
"Anywhere you want, you choose."
"I don't know what to choose."
"Then start here, just do as I say for the beginning, then you can try it yourself."
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