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Garth sat in a rocking chair in a warm cottage made of rough-hewn wood, sipping on a cup of hot cocoa while he warmed his toes in front of a fireplace. His skin was back to normal and he could feel the warm seeping in from the gently crackling fire.

“May I ask a question?”

“Of course.”

“Why are you naked?”

Garth tried not to stare at the nude goddess relaxing beside him. Her dark breasts rose and fell with her breathing, wiggling with eye-catching jigglyness out of the corner of his eye.

It almost looked computer generated, how perky and full they were.

“The other gods insist I wear clothes in their presence.” Beladia said with a pout.

“Stuffy bastards.”

“Does it make you uncomfortable?” she asked, vines growing from the chair to cover her.

“Nope! Not at all!”

“Out of all my apostles on Earth, you are the most violent, by far.” She said, moving past his outburst without comment. The vines, however, peeled away and fell to the floor.

“Near to sixty Kipling slain by your hand on the second day. And making a nourishing vegetable into a weapon?” She heaved a great sigh and shook her head, causing her titanic breasts to wobble.

The small rocking chair she sat in was carved from wood, accentuating rather than hiding the curve of her hips that pressed against the sides.

“Is that bad?”

“I’m neutral.” She said, glancing at Garth’s line of sight and smirking. “Nature can be vicious, but I detest cruelty. Do what you have to to survive. While you are the most violent of my apostles, more than half of them were lost yesterday. You are still alive. The results speak for themselves.”

“I see.” Garth said, taking another sip of cocoa.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, rocking back and forth, before he screwed up the courage to speak.

“What exactly am I doing here?” he asked.

“We are in communion.” She said.

“Huh.” They rocked in their chairs.

“What am I supposed to do?” he asked.

“Relax and let the troubles of the mortal world fade from your mind while you sleep. You may also ask any questions that trouble you.”

They rocked a bit longer. The fire in the hearth warmed his toes.

“When I die, will I come back here?” Garth asked. He could have asked what he should do next, but the question about what would happen to him after he died seemed more important since it was the most likely outcome of this whole debacle.

“If you wish. There will be few of your own kind in that particular afterlife, though.”

“That’s a relief. An afterlife with you doesn’t sound too bad.” A crowded afterlife would be a bitch anyway. Plus more Beladia to himself.

She chuckled. “I can exist in more than one place at once, you know? How do you think I participated in the judging of a hundred thousand souls in a matter of hours?” She shrugged. “You’d get bored of me eventually, though.”

“Two or more of you at once? The pragmatist in me admits you’re probably right, but it would be a fun couple hundred years, right?”

“Insolent mortal, you think I could only hold your attention for a few hundred years?” She put her hand on her chest in faux outrage before breaking into a giggle. Garth chuckled along with her, relaxing into his chair now that his concern for his immortal soul had been put at ease.

“So I guess I’m less afraid of dying intellectually, but I still don’t wanna die. Any advice?”

“Do as you have been. Strengthen yourself and your companions. Be patient and bold at once.”

“Sounds like an oxymoron. Anything more concrete than that?”

She frowned in thought, leaning forward to pick up her cup of cocoa, her breasts swinging freely beneath her in a way that made Garth want to push her onto her hands and knees and set them swinging some more.

He gulped a mouthful of saliva back.

“You’ve got a good idea with your-“ she said, taking a sip of cocoa and crinkling her nose with mirth, “combat peas, but you’re missing a key element.”

“What’s that?”

“You can only breed something to be better at what it already does. Do peas strike you as a particularly savage, dangerous plant?”

“Not really, no.”

“So what would happen if you bred something that was already mean to be even worse?”

Garth had never thought of any plants to be savage or dangerous, they just all moved too slow for mammals like him to give them a second thought. He dimly recalled things like funguses and parasites. Were there plants that hunted other plants?

It hit him. He was basically trying to breed a herbivore to hunt Kipling. It would be a million times easier to breed a predator to hunt Kipling.

“I get it.”

“Excellent.” She set the cocoa down again, relaxing into the rocking chair and wiggling her toes in front of the fire.

“How can I get plant based magic?”

“Go to an outpost and ask there.”

“Where’s the nearest outpost?” Garth pressed.

“Can’t tell you that. It’s against the rules.” Beladia stuck out her tongue.

“And it’s okay to tell me about the afterlife?”

“It’s law amongst gods. We can’t give direct information on the state of the war itself, both for the sake of giving our champions an unfair advantage against each other, and because information may leak to the Kipling.

“Information leak?” Garth asked. “They can think?”

“Some of them. The ones you really have to watch out for, anyway.”

Garth set down his cocoa and began rocking furiously, thinking hard. After half an hour of silent thought, he spoke.

“That patron thing the gods do, could a human do it? Could I give someone my power in exchange for a return like you do?”

“Can’t say.”

“Is it the source of your godhood?”

“Can’t say.”

“Hmm.” Garth continued rocking, glancing at Beladia from the corner of his eye.

“You can look if you want.” She said. “I certainly don’t mind.”

He turned to face her. “That ritual we did, can we do it again?” he asked, his heart hammering.

“No,” she said, shooting him down flatly. Garth tried not to look disappointed, but with a body like that within arm’s reach, it was hard not to.

“But if you wanted to mate for pleasure…”

She leaned back in her chair, gently settling her fingers on her breasts, trailing them down, catching ever so slightly on her nipples. Her brown fingers kept going, gliding down her stomach, catching his gaze and drawing it down to where she slid her legs ever-so-slightly apart, revealing the beginning of her pink womanhood.

“I’m not opposed to that.” She said with a mischievous smile.

Garth took a deep breath, his cock coming to attention.

“That would be-“

Garth opened his eyes, seeing the very real, very not-a-dream noon day sun high in the sky above him.

 

“Awesome.” Garth heaved a sigh as he glanced around their camp. Leanne was nowhere to be seen and the fire had long since burned out.

“You’ve been pitching a tent for hours. Any soreness, discoloration? Wish I had my phone, would have been perfect blackmail material.” the voice had a bit of an awkward tone to it, probably on account of Doug’s cleft palate.

Garth’s attention was drawn to the pale man slumped in the wheelbarrow. Doug’s eyes were focused, and while his face was pale from pain, he seemed healthy enough to have a sense of humor.

“I thought you were the strong silent type?” Garth said as he crawled to his feet, his boner creating what looked like a purple teepee clinging to the side of a sheer cliff. Running Bear would be proud. Garth didn’t really care if he gave Doug an eyeful. it’ s not like he could cut off his morning wood. It would go away soon enough.

“You heard that?” Doug asked, chuckling. “Harold thinks I’m quiet because he’s a psycho son of a bitch who scares the shit out of me. I keep my mouth shut because I wanna live a good long time.”

“Then why follow him around?”

“Still safer than being on my own.”

“Maybe for you. How’s the stomach?”

“Much better. It only feels like the thing’s tearing out my guts again when I breathe, talk, tense up, relax, or think about Brittney Spears from the nineties too hard.”

“Huh, did you see Leanne leave?”

“Yeah, she was screaming when you passed out; woke me up. Then after you wouldn’t open your eyes for awhile, she told me to watch you while she goes and gets help.”

He chuckled, “As if I could do anything.”

“Help? I was just tired…How long she been gone?”

“Oh, about five hours now.” Doug lifted his limp arm and pointed toward town.

“Sonofabitch.” That was way too long. Garth thought, picking up a couple of their knife-bladed short spears.

“Wait,” Doug called after him as he started toward town.

“What?”

“I’m figuratively starving and literally about to die of dehydration. To you have anything to drink or eat?”

Garth hastily gathered enough sugar snap peas to fill the bottom of the wheelbarrow. He snatched up the watermelon bag and pulled out a seed, concentrating until he felt the moment it was ready, right…there!

He tossed out the seed, and Doug gave a squawk of surprise when the seed erupted out of the ground into bright green leafy vines that sprawled along the ground. In a matter of seconds, there were three watermelons on the ground about twice the size of Garth’s head.

“How the hell-“

“There’s your water,” Garth said, putting a melon on Doug’s leg along with a knife to eat it with. “Good luck, I’ll be back when I find her.”

“Good luck to you too,” Doug saluted with a pea. “for both our sakes.”

Garth picked up his orange Combat Peas along with his spear, and ran towards town, hesitating at the stream. Once he crossed over, he was truly in monster country. He touched his wounded leg. Sore, but he could run on it. He took a deep breath and charged across the stream, heading for the outskirts of town, where the homesteaders and poorly-constructed church houses littered the road.

Deeper in he would find the Walmart and the chintzy little used game store and hobby shop eeking by on the patronage of the teens of the town, a handful of neckbeards, and Garth.

How many people could be left? There were barely twenty thousand people to start with, so what could Leanne have come across that she couldn’t deal with?

Garth proceeded carefully, ducking from rickety building to building, filled with all sorts of business that anyone with a computer never visited. Tax prep, legal advice, etc. the office buildings had looked hollowed out an dessicated before the Kipling had come to Earth, but now they loomed over him, filled with dreadful promise.

He could practically feel his neck itching as he turned his back on the empty, broken windows with god knows what lurking inside.

Halfway into town, he heard the sound of fighting, the hissing of Kipling and the shouts of humans.

Garth ducked low and crept forward, homing in on the source of the sound until he was standing a block away from the local pet and feed store, where a dozen people on the roof of the sturdy building were fending off hundreds of Kipling of various sizes.

The stupid things climbed each other like a scene from Starship Troopers, aiming to surmount the edge of the building while the humans stabbed them with homemade weapons and kicked them off the edge, pushing them back momentarily until others took their place.

Garth narrowed his eyes, his newly superior vision clearly making out Leanne lashing out with a foot and sending a creature easily twice her size tumbling down the pile of flesh before another stood in front of her, blocking his view.

She looked tired, run ragged.

“Time to see what thirty generations of selective breeding can do,” he whispered, setting down his spear and shifting a single Combat pea Mk 30 to his free hand. The peas had become larger and much heavier. In time, Garth supposed they wouldn’t even look like peas anymore, but that was fine. The extra weight let him throw it further.

He held the pea in his hand and focused on it, pouring energy into it until he felt the snap. Then he held it longer. A pale green light began to coalesce around the pea, and it begrudgingly snapped again, going to the second tier of hyper-fertilization, the result of an entire night spent practicing.

Garth silently drew it back and flung it out with all his might. The little orange dot sailed into the distance, disappearing into the writhing mass of kipling with no discernable effect.

For a moment, nothing happened.

A breath later, the party started.

 

The ground shook as arm-width roots tore open the parking lot, sending anchors deep into the ground.

The primary plant burst outward, lashing dozens of Kipling together into an immobilized mass, but that was a drop in the bucket.

The primary plant withered, its pods cracking open even as they were flung outward, showering the horde with hundreds of yellow-orange peas.

Each and every one of those peas burst into a life of its own without the need for Garth to fertilize them, turning the hundreds of bunched up ghouls into a weakly struggling mass covered in green vines and pea pods. Garth did have to admit that they didn’t taste as good as sugar snaps any more.

The vines had even climbed up the wall and snagged a few humans, but they were cutting themselves out of it, quickly turning the desperate defense into a one-sided slaughter against the immobilized Kipling.

“Entangle!” Garth whooped with joy, throwing his hands in the air.

A second later he heard the chuffing breath of a kipling behind him.

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A note from Macronomicon

It's come to my attention this chapter needs improvement. If you have any issues with it as a first time reader (Too boring, nonsensical, etc.) be sure to comment below! It'll help me make the story better. And yes, I can see comments all the way back here, they show up on my dashboard.


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About the author

Macronomicon

  • Alaska

Bio: Born in Alaska, raised in Alaska, where the nearest job is 60 miles away. approaching 30 years old, happily married homebody diving head first into writing professionally . Looking to make friends and fans, meet artists and get feedback.

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