Nadec ch 18: The Statue

Previously: After talking to the zlurp, Nadec, Wyny, and Kitty leave the cave in a rush, flying on the back of Blackie. Once down, they decide to head toward a point in the distance Wyny had recognised. He believes there is a city, and in the city they should be able to confirm or disprove the  zlurps’ claims. On the way there, they discover a piece of a large statue. Read all the previous chapters here.

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Nadec felt guilty about the way she’d treated Wyny. He had saved her once and took care of her when she had the concussion. Granted, she’d saved him more often, but that was merely part of her job. He didn’t owe her anything, yet he had decided to come with her and help. And what did she do? She threw rocks at him when he wanted to help her figure things out. Smooth, Nadec, very smooth. He didn’t appear to be disturbed about it though.

She stuffed one of the colourful rocks—a piece of what used to be an enormous statue—in her bundle. Not for the first time she thought how much easier it would’ve been if the zlurp hadn’t destroyed the emergency bag she’d taken when fleeing from the burning apartment. At least they would’ve had a map. She ducked to avoid walking in a spider web—she knew how strong they could be by being caught in them several times before. Many things were similar to Earth, yet with subtle —and often not so subtle—differences to The Oth—Troponia. Her giggle got a backward glance from Wyny, who was leading the way closer to the statue part. With a wave and a shake of her head, she urged him to continue.

Not long after, they reached the statue. Nadec was fairly sure it had taken them only about twenty minutes—including weaving around the trees and dense shrubs. She dropped her arm in irritation. The habit of having a watch was still there, but her fitness tracker had also fallen victim to the zlurp. Although she wasn’t happy about wasting time like this, it did seem like a good idea to check this thing out. Especially because of the way Wyny had reacted, completely awe-struck.

The statue lay in a clearing, probably caused by its very presence. It was large. Big patches of moss covered the coloured strata on the side. The top had grass and trees. Nadec frowned at it. The shape was wrong, not what she’d expected a statue cutout of the pelvic area and butt to be. She could clearly see the male parts, and when she walked around, there was the leg, but instead of a buttock, another leg appeared to be attached. And that—Oh. She squinted and leaned closer.

‘They did a very detailed job on this. I could even get in there. Is that an actual hole?’

When she moved aside the vines growing down from the front, where she supposed two female legs came together, she saw it was even more detailed than she thought at first glance. She ducked down and, snorting in amusement, popped her head in the middle hole. It was wide enough at the opening for her shoulders to fit. When she managed to squeeze her arm up, she felt it get more narrow very quickly, yet there was no end to the opening, not where she could reach it.

Quite moist in here. The thought made her chuckle. Kitty meowed at her feet. Nadec ducked down out of the cavern again and patted him on the head before lifting him for a cuddle. ‘I’m alright buddy,’ she whispered, ‘thanks for your concern’.

‘Is there anything else you know about this statue, Wyny?’ He stiffened at that. Pagewyn was what he preferred, and he didn’t care much for the nickname she’d given him. All the more reason to keep calling him that, she thought, he’ll grow to like it eventually. ‘It was obviously man and woman, standing back to back. Why? Who were they? You said it had a lot of power and that’s why they pulled it apart and dispersed it. But how? How could they’ve cut those pieces and moved them?’

She kept walking around until she got back to the male side.

‘And why do they have holes in them? Anatomically correct holes for that matter?’

Wyny kept quiet for a while, studying her and the statue. She let him. If there was one habit of him she knew by now, it was his thoughtful manner. He liked to think and ruminate before speaking. Usually. He sighed deeply before replying.

‘I do not know the answer to many of those questions.’ He turned his head away and his shoulders came forward. ‘This has not been part of the lessons I received. I—’ he glanced at her, pulled his shoulders back and lifted his head up high again. ‘I will admit that I have not been raised to be a ruler. I, more than likely, received more education than many other people, but on a decent amount of topics, I lack an embarrassing portion of knowledge. Come to think of it, it is almost as if… never mind.

‘Here is the little I know of the statue. Obviously the things I told you before, and this: while it was still in one piece, it could enhance objects. Legend says that, for instance, feeding a weapon through one of their mouths, would improve it. I suppose I never understood this, I always assumed it was merely a manner of speech. But,’ he cleared his throat and his cheeks turned a shade more red, ‘I can see now how it would have worked. I believe the weapon would go through the body, receive its power, and come out the natural way.’ He managed to say that last sentence without tripping over the words from shame.

During his talk, Nadec had taken her halberd from her back. She looked at it now, lost in thought. Ever-sharp blade. It sounds supernatural. Could it have been passed through the statue? If so, that would make the weapon even more special. She looked up.

‘You think…?’

He nodded. ‘I believe it is most likely one of the PPW.’ His eyes opened wide. ‘Well! I never thought much about that classification until now! PP—pee pee—W stands for powerpooped weapon. That makes a whole lot of sense now.’

‘Powerpooped weapons?’ Nadec’s voice was incredulous. Then she let out a deep and genuine laugh. ‘That’s the best thing I’ve heard in ages!’ Another bellow of laughter doubled her up, before she let herself drop back on the ground. ‘And I suppose not many of these PPW are left and it’s been considered a myth by many people?’

‘Well. If my opinion counts as the general opinion, then yes. I never thought they were real, and when I saw your blade, I suppose it did cross my mind but I could not believe it. Until now.’

Typical. Another trope. Special, power wrought weapons, lost to most. It probably was connected to the statue and can be found to find all the parts, that would be the perfect additional trope. She snort-chuckled but it broke off as she laid a hand on the blade. Stories from people who feel the blood drain from their face had always seemed silly to her, but she believed them now. She felt herself grow a shade paler.

Wyny asked what was wrong, although his voice sounded muffled, as if underwater. The halberd’s blade was hot. Not warm from sun heating it up, but hot as if it should be blazing red. Yet it didn’t hurt her. She shook her head. No. She stood up and immediately ran away as fast as she could, ignoring Wyny’s shouts. Faint rustling followed her.

She stopped after a minute and felt the blade again. It was still hot, but somehow she knew it was less than before. ‘No.’ Her voice was as quiet like the whispers of the breeze through the trees. The zlurp had been telling the truth. Heir to a royal family. Perhaps even a descendant of these Originals, connected to the statue. Or perhaps you’re being foolish, everyone could have been giving this halberd, it doesn’t make them royalty.

Yes, maybe it was a coincidence. But she trusted her gut feeling. She walked back towards the statue and Wyny, scooping up Kitty on her way. Her gut told her it was true; her parents had been rulers of a kingdom, not hard-working business people on Earth as she grew up believing. They’d been eliminated by throne usurpers. So much more made sense with that in mind. Their business trips. Their sneaky looks at each other. The obvious secrets they were hiding. She was a princess. Or, with her parents gone, was she a queen instead? No. No, no, one needs to be crowned first before being called a queen. What a mess.

She was a gorwakgutsing princess!

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Nadec, the podcast is on episode 3 right now! The earlier chapters have been revised and extended, so if you like this story, you might like the extended chapters. You can listen to them or read.

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