Published June 23, 2015 by

Tales from a Land of Gods P1 Ch2

Being the protagonist of this story, Meng was completely unaware of the life shaping events which were to follow, and was instead thinking murderous thoughts about his new traveling companion. She seemed immune to Meng's death stares, and he turned to glare at her once more, only to find Lucy smiling broadly from ear to ear. He'd made several attempts to pick up speed and lose her behind the trees, but every time the old woman would throw her unsightly god instrument into the ground and send him hurling into the bushes.
“Enough with you and your infernal staff!” He yelled after being sent into a tree for the seventh time.
It not staff!” She said. “It hammer.
“Like a hammer against my skull,” muttered Meng, who rubbed his bruised and battered nose. He picked himself up and brushed the dirt from his clothes (which was beginning to accumulate to his own disgust). He didn't wish to damage his clothing any further, and he began walking at a slow pace which the hag could easily follow, only to be thrown by another shock wave into the bushes once more.
“What's wrong with you! You insufferable mortal!” Meng yelled in protest. “I slowed down to your ridiculously lethargic speed, and yet you still torment me!”

Wrong way you go,” she said without any guilt at the suffering she was inflicting on him. “Wrong wrong, wrong, this way we go,” Lucy said while pointing in another direction.
Meng glared at her skeptically and was unsure if it was wise to trust her clearly deluded mind. “And what makes you think that's the way out of this death trap?”
I know, I feel,” she said. “North this way!
“Strange mortal woman,” said Meng, who now saw Lucy in a new light. He wondered if she possessed a sense of direction which had eluded him until now. “Are you saying you know an exit to this pit of death?”
Yes,” she croaked. “I was here long, long time ago, I know way, follow me!” And with that she turned and began walking down another path. Meng was tempted to flee and be rid of her forever, but he'd wasted enough time walking in circles, and the old woman was possibly his only chance of escape. Thus to Meng's disgust (and the tree he punched to relieve his anger) he turned and reluctantly followed after the crumbling old mortal.
He couldn't suppress his mortification at how easily their roles had reversed, and Meng could do nothing but silently walk behind like she wasn't his beacon of hope out of the endless forest. To further his irritation, the old woman who had easily caught up when he attempted to run, had now reduced her pace to that of a snail, and Meng was certain they would starve to death before finding the exit.
Weather good, is it not?” Lucy said to Meng, who viewed the statement as further evidence of her insanity. It was impossible to see the sky through the trees, let alone the weather. He huffed and returned to plotting murderous ways to get rid of her. Meng prided himself on his ability to ignore all her pathetic attempts at conversation over the past hour.
Your name what?” She asked Meng, who did not respond. 
Your name what?” She asked once more and frowned in disappointment at his lack of a reaction. “Your name what? Your name what? Your name what?
“Can you at least show me more respect you ungrateful decaying carcass!”
When speaking to a god a mortal must address them in the politest and respectful way possible. It was also insubordination to look them in the eye, or not bow when they passed. Rudeness towards a god often resulted in a mortal loosing their head, and like most mortals, Meng assumed the old woman had these rules drilled into her head from birth.
Lucy paused as though contemplating Meng's words. Your name what, please?” She asked.
An exasperated Meng twitched his hands in preparation to rip off her head and splatter her insides throughout the forest, until he decided that killing a lowly mortal was below a great god such as himself, and he also had no desire to touch her rotting flesh in case it rubbed off on his clothes.
He gave in and decided to tell her if it meant the old woman would finally shut her mouth. It was obviously hard enough for the hag to talk straight, let alone show respect. 
Meng Li. First name Meng, family name Li. Now will you shut your foul mouth?”
 There was silence for a moment, and once Meng adjusted to not hearing her voice barking stupid questions, he noticed she was humming. The humming grew louder, and then she broke into song.
Meng Li, Meng Li, Meng Li,” she repeated in a singsong voice as though attempting to memorize it. “I forget you not Meng Li.”
“I also doubt my ability to forget your pathetic existence as well,” he said through gritted teeth. 
I is Lucy!” She said while enthusiastically pointing to herself. “Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy,” She began to sing when there was no response from Meng.
“I don't care about you! Or your name! Or the weather you decrepit old hag!”  
Lucy appeared offended and tried to stand up as tall as possible, which caused her back to crack several times.
"I not old hag, I young, beautiful woman!" She said defiantly.
Meng screwed up his usually stony face in mortification (which happened very rarely). Maybe she had been young once, when he was a child, which was at least several mortal lifetimes ago. Lucy then began lecturing him on her youth and beauty so manically that her grammar fell apart, and Meng only caught words such as young, beautiful, and misunderstood, amongst the inconsistent babbling.
Not being able to understand made it easier for Meng to block out her pesky voice, but Lucy suddenly decided she needed to rest, and Meng was left kicking his feet in the dirt while he waited for his human compass to pull herself together.
“Let's go,” said Meng, who was tempted to break his no touching rule and rip Lucy to her feet.
I is old, rest I need,” she said, followed by over exaggerated coughing noises.
“You just wasted an hour babbling on about your youth and vitality you crumbling waste of space.”
I is young, but old I feel.
“Lies! Lies,” muttered Meng. “In all my centuries on this earth, I have never had the misfortune to cross paths with a mortal as irritating as you.”
Bread?” Offered Lucy with a smile despite receiving Meng's strongest death glare. The old woman reached into her bag and pulled out a stale loaf of bread and began pushing it towards him. “Eat, eat, eat,” she chanted. 
“You..” Fumed Meng, whose anger made him incapable of thinking up another insult.
It was unbecoming for a god to eat human food, and he was unsure if it was wise to consume anything from a crazy lady, but his hunger made him delusional, and Meng spent ten minutes insulting Lucy only to discover he was yelling at a tree (Meng insisted there was an undeniable resemblance).
After an internal struggle his hunger won, and Meng greedily snatched the bread from her hands. “Thank you,” he muttered before he could stop himself, and Meng cursed himself for showing politeness to a mortal. Lucy was none the wiser, and was too busy chomping down biscuits to notice any abnormalities in Meng's behavior.
Meng took one bite of the bread and found the taste familiar despite its low quality. It was only after the second bite that Meng remembered eating something similar before, and he couldn't help but stop and stare at the stale bread roll as he pulled his thoughts together.
“So I ate something like this back then as well,” said Meng to himself as memories of his childhood began floating to the surface of his mind.
A house in the woods, a helping hand, which tended to his every need, sudden loneliness which couldn't be described in words.
Something problem?” Asked Lucy, who had noticed his vague expression and lack of biting insults.
“It's nothing,” muttered Meng as he poked the bread wearily and examined the exterior. He couldn't explain why, but despite his hunger he'd lost his appetite, and the sight of mortal food was enough to stir feelings of anxiety.

“Let's go,” said Meng as he stood to his feet and threw the rest of his bread back at the old woman who failed to catch it. “This place is mortifying.”

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