Book1, Volume 5

Chapter 41

Michael stood near the shrine, his three new spriggankin friends by his side, watching the cute parading spriggankin go by like a magical merry go round as his foot tapped on the grassy ground to the rhythm of the music.

He enjoyed seeing their wonderful assortment of colorful clothing under the lights of the bonfire and luminescent flower bulbs hanging from evergreen vines which were strung above going from tree house to tree house circling the festivities like Christmas lights.

A soft sigh escaped his lips as he pictured himself in a few of the outfits. His hand gently fiddling with the half dozen or so handcrafted necklaces around his neck which were made of colorful stone beads and various petrified-like flowers that still emitted subtle hints of their sweet scents.

Off to the side, in the alcove of a rather large tree lit by silvery-blue luminescent bulbed flowers, the merry musicians played their musical instruments.

Bringing his left hand back down from his necklaces Michael held a rather large oblong creamy beige skinned Kokinut. There was a long slim yellowish reed straw sticking out of the top. He took a quick sniff from the straw and finding the scent tasty proceeded to take a small cautious sip; His eyes became like crescent moons as the rich and creamy sweet liquid blanketed his tongue, then slid down his throat. It's chocolate! Mmmm... So good. Smiling, Michael drank more deeply through the straw as his eyes began to glaze over, but then something caught his attention.

Coming from behind him, off to the side, he felt a ripple of warm fragrant energy and caught a pulse of light out of the corner of his eye.

Turning his head, he found himself looking at the shrine, straight at the masterfully crafted wooden sculpture of a divine woman in a beautiful floral dress whose aura was now getting warmer and brighter; Outshining the luminescent glow of the bulbed flowers draped around her within the wonderful 6 ft tall garden shrine.

Michael's head turned about, looking around him, puzzled Am I the only one seeing this?... Ah, it must be because of my Oryn Spirin Eyes. The aura of light flashed brighter still. Michael turned to face the shrine again, just as a beam of silvery-green light shot down from above capturing wooden statue in a spotlight.

Looking up, Michael saw a human-shaped form of golden-green energy stream down within the spotlight, landing within the divine statue in a rippling pulse of light and wonderful scents. Michael turned his head to the side, snapping his eyes shut, and used his hands to rub away the sunspots dancing about behind his eyelids.

Michael's heartbeat a bit faster as he blindly shuffled about a bit on his feet. A warmth hit the front of his body; He stopped moving. “Ah, that comforting fragrant warmth...” Michael whispered while hugging himself I must be near the front of the shrine. He stood still, basking in the shrine's grace, taking a deep breath or two as the sunspots faded away and his sight returned.

Yup, I was right... I'm right in front of the shrine. Michael felt a warm pull coming from the beautiful sculpture whose height reached his chest. He tilted his head, staring as a teardrop trickled down the statue's cheek. The statue's head moved, looking up at him as her lips curled up and eyes became watery crescents.

Michael gasped taking a small step back as his hands dropped the now empty Kokinut onto the ground and grasped onto his shorty shorts. He felt something stirring within, blooming within his fast-beating heart. Not really understanding what he was doing, he found himself stepping forward, his hand outstretched as he reached out to brush away the tear...

His hand reached out and just as his fingers brushed the statue's cheek... FLASH! He found himself blinded by a brilliant silvery-green light. Once again snapping his eyes shut he reached up with his hand to rub his eyes clear but was blocked from doing so as a pair of silky slender arms wrap around his shoulders and pulled him into a heavenly embrace.

“GUYA!” Michael yelped as his heart fluttered in startled confusion. His eyes then glistened as they regained their sight. He inhaled deeply, noting that the perfumed air held a scent similar to his own, of gardens and forests. He tried looking up, wanting to see the face of the woman that was warmly, yet tightly embracing him, but couldn't because the side of his face was pancaked onto her soft plentiful bosom. Ah, it's a good thing my head was turned otherwise I'd be gasping for air.

“My sweet little Wylla, it's so good to see you again.” The woman said in a soft silky soprano voice. Michael felt a bit empty inside as the woman stepped back, releasing him from that wonderful embrace.

Now freed, he looked up and sucked in a quick breath of air; before him was an all-natural divinely beautiful young woman with long silky hair of shades of green carrying the scents of flowers and trees; He was completely unaware of the uncanny resemblance the two of them shared.

He lowered and turned his head aside, covering his reddening face with his long silky silvery-blue hair. Holding the tips of his hair in his jittery hands he glanced around him What's going on? Are we in some kind of enchanted sphere... like a snowglobe? He thought to himself noting the veil of ethereal energy surrounding the two of them as everyone outside seemed to be moving about at a faster pace than before. Did she do something to the flow of time in here?

Smiling, the young Goddess Sylvenori lifted her moon hued hand to his chin and gently turned his head her way. “My beautiful daughter I'm so glad you chose to be my first child. You've made me the happiest mother in the heavenly planes of Andelyn.” Huh!?! Chose to be her daughter... what is she talking about? I don't remember choosing to be turned into a girl... or even to be her child. Michael thought to himself with brows furrowed and lips pursed.

“It is so good to see you up and about enjoying the festivities from these kindred spirits. You seem to be doing well, finding your way in this world. I'm so proud of how your facing and handling the challenges thrust upon you. And of the path your on my precious daughter.” Sylvenori said once again sweeping him up in a loving embrace.

Michael's pursed lips turned into a smile as a part of him became overjoyed at being called daughter once again by this seemingly divine woman. But the other part of him wanted to rebuke her words, to shout out “You aren't my Mother!”

After all, this wasn't real, it was just a game no matter how realistic it felt, and he already had a mother, a real mother out in the real world. Heck, this body isn't even real, just an in-game avatar that I'm going to have fixed once I log out! But still, something inside him told him to keep his mouth closed, to treat kindness with kindness... as well as a voice in his heart telling him to not get on the bad side of another “Goddess.”

Plus, the way she looked at him, with love, joy, and tenderness filled him with warmth; He didn't want to ruin this moment for her so what would it hurt if he just played along. Yup, they really did make this game much too realistic.

“I have a mission for you, sweetie. The fallen ones that have strayed from the path will be coming soon. The children here are ill-prepared for the danger ahead. They must learn not only how to defend themselves but that it is okay to do so. You must show them the way as your mortal father and sensei have shown you.”

An image sprouted in his mind; of his father in the Garden Lunchbox kitchen telling him “Treat others as you would have them treat you... okay? Kindness with kindness...” The image then shifted to that of his sensei in the dojo, lecturing the class “Martial Arts are learned not because we want to fight but so we can protect that which we care for.”

Sylvenori paused for a moment, tilting her head while looking up as if listening to someone. A sigh escaped her lips. Her eyes looked down, softening as they once again fell on Michael.

“I'd like to help them, to teach them... but I can't speak their language,” Michael said.

“It is fine. I will give you the way but I must do so quickly for your Godmother needs my assistance nurturing the planet seed in your world.” Michael looked confused about what she had just said and was about to ask what that was all about when he found himself once again within her warm loving embrace.

Michael looked up only to be met by a tender kiss to his forehead as the light once again flashed and a soft [ ding ] rang in his ear as her voice whispered to him “Oh my special flower... fear not for things will work out for the better in the end. You just need a little faith. Ah! I really have to go, until we meet again, bye-bye my beautiful daughter.”

The Goddess Sylvenori once again kissed him on the top of his head and then left, flying into the sky in a flash of light as the veil of energy surrounding him faded away.

Michael shook his cloudy head lightly as if waking from a dream. He clasped his hands to his chest and sighed. His focus then shifted to the kiss... to the tingling sensation he felt in his head... as if something had entered his mind through that kiss.

“Show Status.” Michael's eyes looked left and right, searching as his surroundings once again came to life with music and dance. He was so caught up in his search that he didn't even notice how much lower the bonfire burned. “Ah! That must be it. A new spell: Memory Rosebud Bulb.”

[ Memory Rosebud Bulb allows the caster to create a crystal ball-sized Rosebud Bulb of energy and implant memories within. The Memory Rosebud Bulb will then float to a location of the caster's choosing, allowing all who touch it to experience and understand the memory contained within. This spell makes teaching a snap but it only works in Havenscent Meadows. ]

“Yosh! This is perfect... let's give it a try using the memories from earlier... Memory Rosebud Bulb!” The energy from his body flowed up into his mind weaving into the shape of a Rosebud Bulb. Michael called up the memories of his dad and his sensei's teachings and pushed them into the outer petals of the spell flower as they entered with a soft plop.

He felt cool tingling sensations as the Rosebud Bulb flowed down from his mind through his body, streaming out of his cupped hands reforming into a silvery-blue ethereal Memory Rosebud Bulb, gently floating in the air above his hands. He then gently tossed it into the air where it hung floating 4 feet above the grassy ground in front of the shrine.

He smiled as he saw the images of his dad and sensei playing within. “Yes. Looks like it worked.”

Seeing the strange new beautiful Rosebud Bulb floating in the air, Michael's new spriggankin friends approached it. The little bunny masked Kiir looked at Michael who smiled and nodded to her. Comforted by Michael's encouragement, she turned her gaze back to the beautiful ethereal Rosebud Bulb, lift her small hand and gently touched it with her finger.

A flash of light, quickly followed by a jolt of golden-green energy entered her finger causing her to hop back, startling her friend's who also hopped back.

The warm tingling golden-green energy traveled through her arm and into her mind where the memories within played like a movie in a theater; Allowing her to experience and more importantly, fully understand what was being said.

A smile lit up her cute bunny masked face as she bounced up to the little Ferrewl, took its hand, and stretched it to touch the Rosebud Bulb as well.

Seeing what was happening, the other spriggankin, driven by curiosity, soon began to line up, eagerly waiting for their turn to touch the Rosebud Bulb and learn the lesson contained within.

Michael stepped further and further back, not wanting to get in the way of the line as a yawn escaped his mouth. He felt a small hand grasp his hand and tug him. Looking down, he was happy to see the bunny girl smiling at him as she beckoned him to follow her with her other hand.

“You want to show me something? Okay... lead the way.” Michael nodded to her.

He followed the bunny girl through the crowd, along a short path, to a round comfy tree home. The bunny girl then opened the door and led him inside. The inside was wonderfully quaint and comfortable with sweet garden scents. The walls were adorned with flowers and colorful ivy and the room was lit with various soft moon hued luminescent bulbed plants.

The furnishings were made of wood with soft flower and spiln cushions and large leafy throw blankets. Next, she showed Michael the bathroom; he was surprised to find a large wood framed mirror hanging over the sap hued sink.

Michael's eyes opened wide, his mouth partially opened, and he touched his face in awe, it was his first time seeing his reflection. She really did make me... pretty... quite a bit too pretty. Uh, I should have said I wanted to be better looking or handsome instead... then maybe... but no, its too late now... The bunny girl, unaware of what was going on in Michael's mind, grabbed a little stepping stool and placed it behind Michael.

She then grabbed her wooden comb and some hair scrunchies and set to work gathering Michael's hair into a ponytail. “My ears!?!” My ears are pointy... and layered like the petals of a Dahlia flower with the tips matching the color of my eyes. Michael reached up and gently touched the longer outer layer petal of his ear; the petal was silky smooth to the touch but he didn't feel much sensation coming from them. He then touched the middle layer and did feel some sensations from the touch.

“KIYA!” Michael gasped, his face flushing red as much too pleasant sensations tingled down his body to below his belly. He quickly turned on the cold water in the sink and repeatedly splashed his face as the bunny girl held his hair away from the sink with her head tilted to the side.

“Ah! What were they thinking? That's much too sensitive... Anari can you do something about that?” Michael asked as waterdrops fell into the sink.

[ Not at the moment Wylla, but I'll be sure to see what I can do to have it adjusted for you. ]

“Thanks, Anari. Please do.”

In the meantime, it's best if I keep my ears covered up and protected by my hair. Michael turned to face the bunny girl, smiling as he stopped her from further braiding his hair into a ponytail, then mimed to her that he was sleepy.

Nodding, the bunny girl led Michael to the cute bedroom. Michael's eyes landed on the full-sized bed; The bed frame and headboard were made of dark wood, the mattress of flowers and the blankets of large sewn leaves. There was also a wooden dresser and two small bedside tables in the room.

The bunny girl pulled down the blanket from the bed and signaled for him to lay down. He slipped out of his shoes, undid his belly pouch buckle placing it on the bedside table, and laid down as his eyelids closed.

“Thank you bunny... zzz...”

A note from Storymask

After a heartfelt meeting with his Divine Mother, Michael has been given a mission to fulfill and a village to train... coming up next Chapter 42: Getting Stronger

Side Note: Wishing those celebrating today a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving... may your day be filled with tasty food (mmm... cheesecake...), great music, and loved ones.

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