55 What must be done before winter part 1
(Character highlight) Anna has straight black hair that cascades down her back. Her face is stoic and heroic face with strong angles. her green eyes have a hidden fire behind them. She has a thin frame and lightly tanned skin.
Anna stands as the final light from the day fades. "At least we have a powerful ally," She says without looking at John. She then begins to walk away, returning home.
"She is capricious and can not be relied on forever," John warns.
Anna stops and shakes her head. She then turns back towards John, her hand holding her hair from blowing into her eyes, "That's good," She says before pausing to look at John. The bush behind her is filled with vibrant life. His green teardrops leaves seem to sparkle blending in with the sky behind him. 'No one would think that he's a normal bush anymore,' she thinks.
"Everyone I rely on ends up dead," Anna says, coldly turning back towards the village. Her black hair flowing in the breeze like tendrils tangle with the setting sun as if to consume it. She then continues to the village as the last of the light disappears, leaving only the stars to illuminate the world.
A month pasts and the leaves on the trees fall with the wind and the grass wilts. During this month, John spent his time experimenting and encouraging the growth of the Stone Porcupine herb. He was slowly helping one spike to grow longer to create a great mace. He felt that it had to be about the same height as Elanor. This would allow her to swing it with two hands and better control the unwieldy boulder.
John laughs to himself as he admires his work. He'd been using his control over the earth's energy in the plant to encourage one spike to grow rapidly. It'd grown in width to about an inch in diameter while it's length has reached about a foot. This one shoot now stood out from the rest.
As John muses over his work, he's suddenly distracted by a mewling Joe. "Muuoh," Joe complains while scratching at the ground with his hoof.
"You know what seasons are right? We already went over this I can't make plants grow when it's this cold," John counters the demonic bull.
Joe snorts at the bush and slowly opens his mouth, inching slowly towards one of the wilting green leaves. As his tongue is about to touch the bush's leaf, a girl pops her head over the crest of the hill. Causing Joe to quickly jump back from eating John.
"Look what I found!" She yells with a smile mud smudging her face. She crawls to her feet and runs towards Joe. She stretches out her right hand with a smug smile a few green berries in her hand. "I found these winter berries! They are really yummy when they are ripe," she explains while clenching her left hand into a fist in excitement.
John looks at the berries and inquires, "Where did you find those?"
Donna scrunches her nose and says, "I no talking to bush… But I find it in the forest, beh." She sticks out her tongue at the bush. Joe also moos and sticks his tongue out. They'd become good friends over the last month as Donna would come to share her snack.
'The key to the beast's heart is through his stomach, of course, but why is the treatment so different?' John laments. "You're not supposed to go out by yourself you'll get in trouble. You need an adult chaperone when leaving. It's dangerous, remember?" John reminds the girl.
"Bushy always uses big words to trick Donna!" Donna complains while puffing her cheeks. "I did have a shapone, sharpin, chaplin, I had an adult with me!"
"I didn't see any adults leave today, are you lying young lady?" John retorts.
"I no lie!" She squeals with tears welling up, "Donna is a good girl. I brought the fluffies with me; they are all grown up. Dad told me so himself," She explains triumphantly. Joe nods and moos in support.
John shakes his leaves now understanding. "Even if you say that I don't think your dad meant for them to go with you. He'll definitely scold you later. Rabbits don't count as adult supervision," he retorted.
"They are adults dad no lie!" she complains stomping her feet, "Even ball agrees." Joe snorts over Donna's shoulder while looking at John disapprovingly. Joe then notices the green berries and tongues them out of the girl's hand. "No ball, don't eat them!" She yells while grabbing his face. But it was too late.
Joe chews the berries as the juices squirt out he feels his tongue twist, and his lips pucker. "bleh," Joe opens his mouth his tongue rolling out over Donna's head. A surge of slobber falls on the poor girl's head.
Donna freezes up for a moment in shock. She then reaches for her head and feels the saliva from Joe with her hand. Tears fear her eye as she cries, "Ball, icky! I said when they are ripe." She then runs down the hill, screaming, "Daddy!"
Joe looks over at John who shrugs with his branches, "This was your fault, not mine." Joe's ears droop in shame as he licks the ground to remove the taste in his mouth.
John then focuses on Franklin. 'I guess it's time to keep my promise,' he thinks as the boy enters his home for the evening.
Later that night after Donna was cleaned up, the villagers could hear her cry, "But you said rabbits were adults."
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At the same time in an unknown location, a man scurries up to a large door. His hand hesitates on the door as he wipes a nervous sweat from his forehead. He was usually high above everyone, but today he was summoned to his sect's most ancient lady.
'She normally only moves once every hundred years, but now she's moved twice in the same year! What is going on?' he worries. In the past, the job of attending the ancient lady was taken by her daughter. But now her Antheia was away on a mission, so the task now fell on him the current leader of the sect.
Steeling himself, he pushes the large doors open. As he walks in his skin crawls as the yin death energy flows over his body. The large hall is covered with a quiet pond of water with a path for visitors down the center. At the end of the white walkway is a stone throne in which the ancient one sits. As he continues towards the throne, the sect leader can feel the seals protecting the path strain and flicker. If he were to stray out into the pond, even a powerhouse like him would instantly die.
All of this was to seal the ancient one. She is infinitesimally close to divinity. Her vitality spilling out into the world endlessly. If they didn't go to such extremes to contain it, she would have already been rejected by the mortal world and thrust into godhood. With this kind of monster protecting his sect, no one dared act recklessly against them. Even the largest of sect's or most ancient clans would think twice before taking on such a powerhouse.
As he nears the throne, he takes a knee. Fearing to look up at the ancient one he stares intently at his own feet as if to memorize every contour of his shoes. After what seems like an eternity but was actually only a few seconds he hears the ruffling of the miraculous garments the ancient one wears.
"I was beginning to think you were going to sit outside forever," A surprisingly youthful voice reprimands. Her words seem to contain power in and of themselves as they crash against the protection wards. As the sound vibrations flow through the air, miraculous plants seem to grow vibrantly out of nowhere. Only to be withered in the next moment by the oppressive yin energy.
The sect leader shudders as he answers, "I apologize, great one." He then bows his head until his forehead touches the floor.
"Has it been so long that you've forgotten my name?" The ancient one complains while shifting her legs.
"No one would dare forget your great name, Hebe," he replies fearfully. 'Did she call me here because we weren't paying proper respects?' He worries to himself. Antheia hadn't warned him of any duties he'd need to attend to while she was gone.
"I didn't call you here for something so petty. Now stop looking at the floor and listen to my words," Hebe commands.
The sect leader swallows his fear and slowly raises his head. As he does, he sees a woman clad in a flowering kimono that seemed to contain a real flourishing garden. Hebe's skin was white like porcelain without a single blemish. Her face looked even younger than her daughter's. No one would put her age past eighteen.
Hebe gives a slight nod of approval. But even this limited movent almost shatters the seals protecting the sect leader. "That's better. I felt a shift in the universe call everyone back and sever all friendships and hatreds. You must hole up immediately," she orders.
The sect leader's jaw drops, "Is it essential to go so far? Won't people think we return friendship with hate?"
"I don't remember any boon given to us that we haven't returned in kind. There is no reason to fear such petty people," Hebe retorts.
The sect leader's mind races as he makes plans and counter plans. He at least wants to keep up some trade with local friendly sects and clans. As he ruminates a perturbed look appears on Hebe's face.
"Do not think so much. You must not act foolishly. I can only move one time…" Hebe reminds. "I still want to remain in the mortal world, so don't force my hand. Cut the anchors and furl the sails. We must prepare for a storm that will sweep people mightier than you away," she counsels.
All the sect leader could do was nod at this stern warning. A cold sweat covers his back, drenching it. "I will prepare immediately!" he exclaims as he stands. If there was only one road, then he could just walk down it. As he near's the large doors at the exit, he pauses his steps. He turns and asks, "What about your daughter?"
At this question, Hebe pauses. To the sect leader, it seemed that she was trying to read the universe itself to find an answer. After a few minutes Hebe shakes her head, "leave her. I fear that if I miss this chance, I will never see him. Just tell her to be careful."