Pure Marae route, Part 3.5 - Fauna
- [Explore island]
- You tell Marae you want to learn about controlling nature like she does.
- "A wise choice. Let's spend today on using your connection with nature." She beckons you along her path. "Follow me. There's an old glade I have which the druids of old were fond of."
- A glade on the island. Marae says it is old, but it's in full bloom like it was yesterday, yet everything is full of life. No flower petal is simply red or blue; it is a vibrant ruby or deep cerulean. The trees tower high above, and the sunlight slips through the foliage as if refracted by a diamond, and everything underneath is both shaded and illuminated. Pleasant smells bloom from the open beds of each plant, mixing together into a harmonious blend, a tender relief from the toxic atmosphere elsewhere. The fauna here is both nostalgic yet exotic; flowers in bloom, tall plants with sharp stems and great bug leaves, they all remind you of Ingnam, yet Ingnam had nothing comparable to this.
- As you stop and smell the flowers, you focus on one plant, with open peach flowers and an amber bulb. It pulses a soothing light in sync with a deep breath. Marae looks over your shoulder, quietly.
- "You seem focused." Marae quips, looking over your side. You are, but moreover, you're confused by how different it is to the other plants you've seen.
- "What do you mean?"
- Well, when you go to the forest or the deepwoods on the mainland, a lot of glade plants are...sexual?
- "Of course they are. That is how nature spreads life. We wouldn't have any life beyond my direct craft if not for that."
- No, this isn't simply the birds and the bees. These have turned into mutated dicks, boobs and vaginas.
- Her eyelids droop, like she can't decide whether to be heartbroken or annoyed.
- "I'm sure you can guess why I find that abhorrent."
- You can. With a deep breath, she moves on. "But your training comes first. Pick a plant. Reach out to it."
- You focus on the peach-leaved plant before you. As if you were meditating, you dwell on it for a long time. A bit of Marae's teaching must have rubbed off on you, for you feel some connection to it. At least, you think you do. You spend so much time reaching out, breathing deep, trying to feel it like Marae said, only for nothing to change. Are you just imagining it?
- Then, you feel a gentle weight over the back of your hands.
- Marae has wrapped behind you, her chest brushing against her back, her feet touching your heels. Her fingers work their way up the back of yours until they're slightly tilting your fingertips up. You let out a surprised gasp, but she lets out a soothing hush. "Trust me. Move with me."
- That feeling from before returns, stronger than ever. You feel it buzzing in your fingers, spiralling around your heart. You try to control it, give it flow. At first you push too strong, and almost chase the feeling away, but Marae guides it back. Soon it is steadying in your heart. Your heart thumps loudly, but you try to contain it. Control its tempo with steady breaths and a clear focus. Focus on that plant before you.
- As you do so, the plant starts to move.
- Its bulb vibrates and glows a bright amber. Its stem rises, in a graceful curve upwards.
- Marae tilts your hands to the left. The stem moves that way. She tilts them to the right; the plant sways like so. You begin to move it yourself, steering it back and forth, tilting up or down. Soon the two of you have it dancing to your rhythm.
- Finally, Marae holds tight around your hands, and brings them into a clap.
- The bulb bursts open, and a shower of cherry blossom petals burst open. Some fall to the ground, decorating the two of you. Others scatter far into the woods. Perhaps one day they'll spread.
- "As nature should be." Marae smiles. "With work, we'll have you doing that on your own."
- You stay there for a while until the goddess releases. Once she does, you feel suddenly exhausted, and fall backwards onto a flower bed. It's a soft cushion, but you might just rest there for a spell, absorbing what happened. Even so, you wouldn't mind her holding you like that again.
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