Published March 28, 2018 by

Tales from a Land of Gods Part 1 Chapter 6

Story:  Outside our world exists one of gods. A place where the gods reign supreme and humans live like days of old.
Meng is a unique god who becomes lost in an endless forest. His only chance of escape is an old dying mortal who brings back memories of his past which he would prefer remain forgotten.

"Lushe," said Meng as he shook his traveling companion back to consciousness. He had allowed her to walk while leaning on his shoulder, but her head continued to sway from side to side as she began falling asleep.

Lucy was clearly weaker than when he met her two days ago, and he could see her condition deteriorating before his eyes. Maybe she had days, weeks, maybe a few months left at most, but that could be cut short if she stumbled across a dangerous mortal or god. One wrong turn and the old woman would be no more, and her wish to return home would remain forever unfulfilled.

Looking at her brought back memories of when the old man would cough as he limped around the fields. His only onlooker was a young Meng, who was curious why his playmate was slowly crumbling away. By the time Meng realized why the man was ill, his adopted father was gone forever, but Lucy wasn't dead yet, and he still had a chance to do something before it was too late.

Meng didn't believe in another world, and he assumed it was a story she created to entertain him, but there was no denying that Lucy needed help from other mortals, and maybe he could help her do so.

"Let's stop at the next village. I'm sure there's someone there who can do something about your condition."

"No," said Lucy. "No stop, find other world, go home."

"Lushe enough with the ridiculous tales of a fantasy land! Let me help you. You can't go on alone like this!" Meng said. He almost grabbed her shoulders to shake her. "You're human! You can't wonder this place alone. There are dangerous gods who will rip your head from your body if you look at them the wrong way."

"Human? You also human."

"Human? How stupid would you have to be to think that I was hu-" He began to say, but then one look at her face (and her lack of surprise) caused the words to die in his throat.

How could the woman possibly mistake him for a human? He had abnormally blue eyes, perfect silver hair, and the radiant aura of a god. To mistake him for a human she would have to be- "Wait a moment," he waved his hand in front of her face to see if there was any reaction, which there wasn't.

"By the gods...Don't tell me that you're blind!"

"I not blind!" She protested. "I see very, very little."

Oh perfect, thought Meng to himself. He was stuck with a decaying old woman who was illiterate, delusional, and now blind as well. He had the urge to proclaim his identity as a god. To brag about his awesomeness and how generous it was for a god of his greatness to waste his time escorting her across the forest, but when he attempted to do so the words became stuck in his throat.

It was forbidden for humans to address gods in a casual manner, and those who did so incurred the fearsome wrath of a god. Since moving up in immortal society, most mortals now trembled before Meng in fear, but until now the old woman looked at him serenely and treated him like an old friend.

If she were to fear him, then everything would fall apart.

Therefore, with a pang in his chest, he replied. "Yes of course I'm human you idiot," he lied. "There's no way a real god would stay here with someone like you. Come on, I'll take you home, let me carry you," he picked her up and began to carry her with little protest from Lucy who was obviously exhausted. He no longer cared if it ruined his godly image. There was no way they'd reach help in time if he allowed her to walk.

"On outside you tough rude boy. But Meng, I think your insides are good."

"Insides are good?" He was shocked enough to overlook her grammatical error. Meng had been called many things in his lifetime, but never good. Meng considered correcting her, but decided to keep his mouth shut. Lucy was naive and stupid, and there was no way that she could comprehend the truth.

"How about another story," he said in an effort to steer the conversation away from himself. "Tell me more about this other world."

"Ah, yes, other world, story," she said weakly. "In ancient kingdom far away, there was woman who became queen. A terrible queen," she added through half closed eyes."Queen pick small boy to become king when he become big and tall..But..."

"But what?" Asked Meng as he shook Lucy awake once more.

"Queen become ill and die, and the small child become king of ancient kingdom. Money, jewels, servant, house. All belong to small child."

"So he had everything?" Meng said. "Her tale of a boy king reminded him of Kaien who was born into the world with every luxury he could imagine."

"Yes..." Replied Lucy weakly, and she began to slip unconscious once more.

"Stop that!" Meng said as he shook her again. "If you go to sleep now than you may never wake up!" He sighed in frustration and caught sight of a small river up ahead. "Let's stop and rest, I'll get you some water."

He carried Lucy to the river bed and sat her down on a small rock beside the stream. He attempted to leave and fetch her something to drink, but she suddenly lunged out her hand and grasped his wrist tightly.

"Wait!" Lucy said. She took something from between her layers of clothing and deposited it into his palm. "Take this...A gift for you."

Meng looked down to see a worn prayer book which was almost falling apart. He hesitantly opened the cover and began flipping through the pages.

"Grand and majestic Shiba, we thank thee for the rain which is brought to us because of your divine presence," read Meng as he scanned the text. "Lucy I have no use for this."

He attempted to give it back to her, but Lucy pushed his hand away. "No, for you," she croaked.

He sighed and blamed her stubbornness on the woman's delusional state. Meng then dropped the prayer book into his pocket and went to fetch water. "Just stay there and don't try going anywhere," he said. "And don't come over here either," said Meng as he began negotiating the slippery rocks around the riverbed. "It's slippery and filthy, and someone with your weak physical state could easily faAAAAAAAH!" Meng screamed as his foot slipped and he fell into the muddy riverbank.

With a groan, he picked himself up, and stared at a clump of his hair, which was drenched in mud to his own mortification. His right side was also covered in the dirt right down to the insides of his shoes. Meng's godly image was thoroughly ruined, and to make matters worse the blind old woman began laughing hysterically.

"This is not something to laugh about!" He spat. "These clothes are worth more than ten of you mortals!"

"You spoiled boy, never play in mud."

"Spoiled! Spoiled? I was never spoiled!" Meng said as he kicked the river bank out of frustration. "My mother was my father's concubine, and once my father died, my brothers all dueled to see who would take over, and then the one who won happened to like my mother, found me annoying, and threw me out onto the street. So don't you dare stand up there all clean on your dry land you old hag and tell me that my life was too easy."

"I see," she nodded. "But I have little question."


"What is concubine?"

"You foolish-" Meng said before he was abruptly interrupted by a voice behind him which said, "Well well well, didn't expect to see anyone at this time of day in our neck of the woods."

Meng turned to see a group of four mortal bandits standing behind him. Their clothes were ripped, filthy, and three were brandishing swords, while the fourth was left to improvise with a sharp stick.

"Oh Kind strangers," said Lucy.

"They're pointing swords at you Lushe," said Meng as he narrowed his eyes in suspicion.

"Well, what do we have here? Some poor lost fool and his elderly mother," said the leader whose shirt couldn't cover the entirety of his pudgy stomach. "It's not like we want to murder you and take your stuff, but we've been lost out here for days, and this is the first opportunity we've had for fun since Lao here was attacked by bats," he said while indicating to a man behind him who was covered in bite marks.

"Look at that boss," said another bandit. "That 'ol lepper woman has 'erself a golden staff, bet that would fetch a pretty fortune."

"No, no, no," screeched Lucy as she hugged her staff tightly to her chest.

"Look, we're reasonable men here," said the pudgy leader. "Hand over all your valuables and we'll let you walk away with your lives."

"But don't try and hide anything in yer pockets," said a man behind him who slashed his sword in the air in an attempt to intimidate them. "We'll have yer clothes as well, or we'll strip them from yer dead bodies!"

"How dare you," said Meng, who found their threats insulting, and was by no means going to allow himself to be mugged by mortals. "You have no idea who you're dealing with. I am Meng Li of the Li household. One of the most feared immortal households in all of-" he was suddenly cut off when a rock hit him straight in the jaw.

What was going on? He was a god, a pure god. Most humans bowed and feared him, but these four had the nerve to insult his godly self and even go as far as to assault him with flying projectiles.

But as he dodged the next rock, he realized that he was still covered in mud.

"Don't worry about him, get the old bag first!" The leader of the group yelled.

"Lucy!" Meng yelled. He rushed to assist a corned Lucy, who was surrounded by all four men, only to be thrown back by the force of her staff as she slammed it into the ground. He was sent flying backwards, and landed in the river with a splash.

Four human men were obviously no match for his superior godly powers, and he had the power to easily take out all four if Lucy stopped using the staff and got out of his way. Meng therefore devised a plan, step one, grab Lucy. Step two, run. Step three, dump her and come back to finish them off.

Meng began implementing step one and dove towards her, but she quickly slammed the hammer into the ground once more and sent Meng and the fastest bandit flying. The fat man crashed into Meng, the two of them slammed into the ground, and the thief landed on top crushing Meng. Any normal man would have had the breath knocked out their lungs from the bandit's sheer weight, but luckily for him Meng was no mortal man.

The bandit tried to pin him down with his elbow as reached for another weapon, but Meng calmly shoved his fist through the man's chest before he could assault Meng any further.

"First mud, now blood," said Meng as he pushed the fidgeting body off himself. "Lushe, I got rid of one of them, just stay where you are and don't touch your stupid weapon until I say so."

He glanced up at Lucy, but something instantly struck him as odd. She was standing there without her staff and holding onto her stomach tightly. At first the remaining three men (who had been so desperate to rob her) were nowhere to be seen, but he then caught a glance of them retreating back into the depths of the forest while waving Lucy's staff in the air like a battle trophy.

So they just took the staff and ran did they? He thought. Meng turned to Lucy and opened his mouth to say "Don't worry, I'll kill them and get it back for you."

But then Lucy fell down.

Like a broken doll the old mortal collapsed face first into the ground and began to shake uncontrollably.

"Lushe!" He yelled in a panic. Meng dashed to her side and turned her shuddering body over to find a giant red stain that covered the entirety of her chest. Hoping that it wasn't what he thought it was, Meng touched the red area with the palm of his hand, but when he pulled back in was covered in blood. The thieves must have stabbed her and stolen her staff in the few minutes that he had been occupied.

"Do you hurt Meng, this blood?" She choked.

"You're the one bleeding you fool!" Meng shouted. He quickly ripped off the hem of his coat and held the fabric against her wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding, but as hard as he tried, the blood continued to flow and drench the fabric in red.

"No, why won't it stop," he hissed. He knew enough about mortals to know that unlike gods, they were incapable of recovering from mortal wounds. His stress was not helped by Lucy, who instead of shutting up and conserving her energy, was babbling gibberish in her strange language like her life depended on it.

"What! I can't understand what you're saying!" He yelled. "Is there something else wrong with you?"

She raised one shaking hand, touched his face, and squinted her eyes as though attempting to look at him. "Thank you... Meng... Li," She said weakly before her eyes rolled back in her head, and the hand which had been caressing his face, fell lifelessly to her side.

"Hey! Lushe! Lushe! Lushe!" He yelled as he shook the body with his blood stained hands in an attempt to bring her back to consciousness, but her breathing became faint, until with one last breath, it stopped completely.

"No, No, not like this!" He yelled. He continued to smack her face, but much like the day the old man died, all attempts were futile, and the body remained still and unresponsive. Her gaze was vacant, her body limp, and the spark which once lit up her dark brown eyes was slowly diminishing.

Meng slumped in defeat. "I let it happen again," he muttered.

He should have known better than to make friends with humans when they would all inevitably pass away and leave him. He thought this time would be different. He thought this time he would not fail, but he had once again allowed a sick mortal in his care to suffer and die.

He pried his bloody fingers from her shoulders, and was prepared to give up until he remembered one last thing he had yet to try.

"Yes, there's still that," he muttered to himself. "That might work."