“T-this is impossible! Unhand me!”
“Ilya…? Did this plant just speak?” Right. Ilya and I are the only people standing in the sky. There’s no one in the plant that I’m holding. And I’m pretty sure the voice just now wasn’t Ilya unless she turned into an old man while I wasn’t looking. Mm, her personality is like an old man’s though, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if she did, I guess. Ah, but what the heck was Reena thinking when she planted this thing? “It’s so ugly, and I’d bet it’d taste disgusting. Maybe rabbits like eating it. Mm, that’d explain this abomination.”
“Who are you calling an abomination!? How, how did you uproot me!? Y-you’re the true abomination!”
Yup. It’s a talking plant. Is it immoral to cook and eat it? Is a plant a person…? Maybe a person is just a talking plant…. I’m not sure what to make of this thing; it’s unnatural. Alright, that settles it. I’ll burn this thing to ashes and pretend it never existed. As the only sky-realm expert inside of this pocket realm, I have to do my best to maintain the logical rules of the world. No talking plants allowed!
“Ah! Ah! What are you doing!? Such a small flame won’t even burn me!”
My trusty firestarter…. It never failed me before. Like I thought, this plant is a horrible rule-breaking existence that can’t be allowed to exist! “Ilya. Burn this thing.”
Ilya raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure? It sounds like a person.”
“No, no. It’s a plant. Even some really rare monkeys we encountered on our travels could speak and I killed them without guilt, remember? It’s the same thing now! Just because something can speak and hold a conversation with you doesn’t mean you can’t kill them as long as they’re different enough. Besides, the plant said so itself; it told us to use a bigger flame to burn it.”
“I did not! Give up! Only the flames of a legend will have any effec—I’m on fire!?” The plant wriggled like a worm pulled out of the ground by a bird. But all the wriggling did was make the fire on its leaves spread faster. There we go; fix the wrongs of the world, flame!
“Hey, Lucia,” Ilya said. “Do you think this plant has anything to do with the thing that killed Snow?”
“Ah?” The thing that killed Snow? Wasn’t that me? He died because I pulled a plant out of his ear, right? This giant plant is related to me!? …Is it a different type of squirrel that I’ve never heard about? Ilya does know obscure things….
Ilya rolled her eyes before I could respond. “Right, I forgot you don’t think. Why’d I even ask?”
Oi. I knew it; Ilya really does enjoy getting her head massaged by my knuckles. “I think! I think about a lot of things a lot, sometimes! In fact, I think so much and hard that I lose track of things I’m not thinking about, got it?”
“G-got it! I got it! S-stop grinding my head! Lucia, it hurts!”
Hmph. “Oh, the plant’s finally burnt up, huh?” Ilya’s flames are way too strong! Normally, when you set a tree on fire—not like I have; like seriously, who’d be clumsy enough to set a tree on fire, right? Ha-ha. Anyways, normally, when you set a tree on fire, it takes a while to burn and the whole thing doesn’t even turn to ash. It turns into this black charcoal that’s still solid. But Ilya’s flames completely incinerated this plant; there weren’t even ashes left! “Alright. Let’s go say hi to everyone in the palace!” I missed my cute predators! Reena better have given them all the belly rubs they asked for. Ah! It’s Reena’s head! Don’t tell me someone planted her into the ground! “Reena?”
“Welcome home, Lucia,” Reena said. She crawled out of a tunnel in the ground that looked like it had been left behind by the giant plant’s roots. Was she fertilizing it? “You’re amazing. The instant you came back, you solved the apocalypse.”
Ilya snorted. “It means the end of the world.”
“I know what it means, Ilya!” Gah! Why does this girl like pain so much? I can’t grind her head anymore! It’s exactly what she wants. I shouldn’t encourage bad behavior. Then what do I do? Hmm. I guess I’ll just hold her upside down by her ankles for now….
“Anyways, what were you saying about the apocalypse?”
Reena stared at Ilya, but she cleared her throat and faced me again. “The plant you just killed. It was the source of all the seeds possessing people. Remember the people with plants growing out of their ears? They were being controlled by this thing. Duke Pentorn theorized that destroying this plant would free everyone with a plant inside of them.”
“My father did?” Ilya asked. She flailed her arms a few times, but I didn’t let her up. “How is he? Is he alright?”
“Your father’s the leader of the resistance,” Reena said. “Without him, the whole world would’ve ended a long time ago. I’m sure he’s doing fine, and he’ll be here to investigate once he figures out the main plant is gone.”
…This conversation is hard to follow. Let’s change the subject! “Where’s Mrs. Wuffletush?”
Reena’s face darkened. Did something happen to Mrs. Wuffletush!? “When the plant people invaded…, Mrs. Wuffletush and the other predators escaped to the mountains instead of helping us. They’re doing just fine.”
Phew. What the heck, Reena? Why would she say such non-ominous things with such an ominous expression? I almost panicked. “Hmm, alright. Well, if you need me, I’ll be in my palace!”
“W-wait,” Reena said and chased after me. “You’re not going to ask some more questions? Don’t you want to know what happened in the time that you were gone?”
“Uh, you can talk to Ilya about that stuff. She turned pretty strong too.” I released Ilya and nodded. I have more important things to do! Ilya can take care of all the little things with her saint-realm strength; I’m not even needed. …I like feeling needed though, but for the sake of my dreams, I’m willing to give up a little praise! Durandal and I have a lot of babies to make! Ilya said she fixed him with a necklace, so there shouldn’t be any issues now. Unless I’m infertile, but that can’t be, right? I have so much strength and liveliness, there’s no way that’s true!