“Ngrhhh…” Alina stirred, as she felt some semblances of her consciousness returning to her body.
Light slowly trickled to her eyes as she slowly opened them, with Alina receiving the light with relish.
“!!!!” Memories of what happened to her before she blacked out all surged inside Alina’s mind, rousing her sleepy mind awake.
She quickly stood up, with her body extremely tense. She looked all around her, remembering that someone or something had knocked her out earlier.
Upon looking around her, Alina realized that she was in a room filled with soil. The darkness around her was mostly gone, as there was a lighting above her that released the light.
“Be at ease, dark one.” Alina heard the same soothing voice that earlier, who seemed to be talking to her now. “I meant you no harm, I am just here to talk.”
Upon seeing that she was unhurt at all, and the fact that the soothing voice seemed to be willing to talk to her, Alina decided to listen to the soothing voice. “Are you sure that you only want to talk to me? What you did to me earlier does not really get my goodwill.”
“Well, I just want to make sure that I can talk to you when we are both actually alone.” The voice replied as Alina heard some slight rustling sounds behind her.
Alina looked back, and what she saw was a little confusing to her.
Alina saw a tree that was as tall as her.
The tree seemed to be lush and healthy, with its leaves green and its bark looking robust and full.
The leaves of this tree were moving merrily, which was the source of the rustling sounds that Alina heard.
“Are you…” Alina slightly faltered, as she remembered the talk that General Chimera gave her. “The Queen Mother?”
“Your conjecture is right, dark one.” The soothing voice came out of the tree, confirming Alina’s suspicion. “I am indeed the Queen Mother, talking with you right now.”
“But…” Alina felt extremely confused, as she observed Queen Mother’s appearance. “You look like a tree…”
“You seem to be under the assumption that I, Queen Mother, should wear the appearance of a hideous being?” The Queen Mother replied, with her leaves shaking, as if she was laughing. “That’s what most of the Monsters here think until they see me…”
“So, you are a Monster too?” Alina asked, as she felt more and more at ease with Queen Mother. She was not sure why, but she was not feeling any danger coming from her.
“I think I do not need to give an answer to your query.” The Queen Mother replied as its trunk started to sway.
“With your All-Seeing Eyes, I am sure you can see who I really am.”
“You know about my secret!” This time, Alina scooted back by several paces as she gave Queen Mother a wary look. “I did not tell anyone that I do not trust about this!”
After hearing what the Queen Mother said, Alina realized more things.
And that is the fact that the Queen Mother knew that the one in front of her was Alina and not Carlie.
With this realization in her mind, Alina can extrapolate the fact that Queen Mother actually knew about her and Alex’s disguises!
“That is right, I know that you are not the shadow monster Carlie.” Queen Mother replied as her leaves shook in a placating manner. “The same thing also applies to what your mate did with the Divine Knight.”
“That… is not an assuring thing to hear.” Alina replied as she continued moving back from Queen Mother. “You have been playing with us this whole time.”
“Be at ease, dark one. I just have some set of abilities that allowed me to notice your machinations.” Queen Mother said as she started to placate Alina. “And please believe me when I said that I meant you no harm. I had known about you and your mate’s presence when you both arrived at this world months ago. I did not actually send anyone to harm you, which means that I am not hostile to the both of you.”
“You… are not lying.” Alina muttered as she ‘saw’ the sincerity of Queen Mother. “You really are not hostile against us.”
“I am a kind, gentle tree. I don’t like hurting others, you know.”
Since Alina’s All-Seeing Eyes were telling her that Queen Mother was not lying at all, this means that she was actually not hostile to Alina and Alex.
With this realization in mind, Alina relaxed, fully knowing that she is not in danger right now.
“So, why do you want to talk with me?” Alina inquired in a relaxed manner as she sat down on the floor.
“Before we talk, I want to show you something first.” The Queen Mother replied as her whole body went still.
Alina then remembered the Queen Mother’s request earlier, realizing what she wanted to say. “So, you wanted me to use my All-Seeing Eyes to see your real form?”
“Indeed, dark one.” Queen Mother replied as her body continued on staying still. “Use your eyes to feast upon my real form, and only after that we can start to talk.”
“Will seeing your real form harm me at all?” Alina asked as she slowly stood up. “I know that you are not hostile to me, but you know, accidents can still happen.”
“From what I can see, you will not be in any danger at all.“ Queen Mother replied calmly.
“You are saying the truth.” Alina muttered to herself as she began to look at Queen Mother’s tree body intently. “In that case, I shall start looking now.”
Alina’s All-Seeing Eyes allow Alina to see through all deception, including seeing through the real identity of anyone that her eyes lay on.
This allowed Alina to realize that the little Monsters and Carlie were all Humans.
And right now, Alina was about to use her eyes to see Queen Mother’s real body.
Alina felt a trickle of power flowing into her eyes as she gazed beyond what was laid in front of her.
“!*#(*&@)*!)” Alina staggered as she felt her surroundings blurring. She also felt a pounding headache forming inside her head, prompting her to squint.
After a few seconds of staying in this condition, Alina felt the pain go away, showing her sight that she wanted to see.
“What?” Alina went slack-jawed from what she saw, realizing the enormity of the situation.
And when Alina meant enormity, she really meant it.
What Alina saw was only simple.
She saw a tree, with its roots on the ground and its canopy in space.
Yes, that is what Alina saw.
A tree that was so big that its leaves were able to touch the vacuum of the space.
“But this-“ Alina stuttered as she tried to take in what she was seeing.
The tree had a trunk as wide a country, and its roots were digging so deep into the ground that they were able to touch to molten rocks underground.
The whole body of the tree were also covered with extremely thick vines, which seemed to be extremely tough to damage.
As for the leaves of the tree, each of the leaves were as large as a building, which just made the whole tree more imposing.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” Queen Mother said as she saw Alina’s stuttering form. “It is not hard to feel awed once you see my majestic form.”
“What the hell are you?” Alina asked as she felt extremely small in front of Queen Mother. “Are you even a monster?”
“…” Queen Mother shook her body, as she seemed to be pleased on seeing Alina’s disconcerted appearance. “What do you think?”
“….” Alina closed her eyes as she tried to remember the mythological stories that she had read before.
Even though she was born in an Esper World, Alina was also interested on magical and mythological stories, which gave her knowledge on some things that people in her World consider as ‘geeky’.
But even her knowledge was not enough to give Alina what she was looking for.
“Ok, it seems like you can’t get anything.” Queen Mother said as she saw Alina glaring at her. “In that case, I will just tell it to you directly.”
After hearing this, Alina leaned forward as she began to listen intently.
“I came from a lineage of an extremely rare kind.” Queen Mother said softly, as her leaves began to straighten up. “Our kind relies on living on planets, and we will stay there until our death. Our lives are tied to the planet that we are in, and we do our best to keep it safe.”
Seeing that Alina was still interested, Queen Mother continued talking.
“Our kind are revered by many, while some regard us as menace. But whatever happens, we stood the test of time, and we are a part of this universe already.”
“My kind are referred to as World Trees, and I am one of them.”
“So, you are a World Tree.” Alina replied with a deadpan expression after hearing Queen Mother’s speech. “Well, seeing that huge body of yours makes you credit more believable…”
“Do you even need to see that body? I am sure that your eyes are telling you that I am saying the truth, right?” The Queen Mother said as her leaves shook faintly.
“Yes, I can see that.” Alina replied as she let out a sigh.
Alina looked like she was extremely shaken, and that was a normal response of someone who just saw a tree that can actually reach the freaking outer space!
“So, what do you want to talk about?” Alina asked as she realized that if Queen Mother showed her something as shocking as being a World Tree, then the talk that they had will surely be related to her status as a World Tree.
Alina heard a sigh coming out from Queen Mother, as if she was about to start a heavy talk.
Alina stayed quiet after hearing this, knowing that she must fully listen for what was about she will hear next.
“I will tell you all about the situation of the Humans and Monsters in this World…” Queen Mother said as she seemed to gaze at Alina intently. “So listen well, for what I am about to say next will be of great help to you and your Traveler mate.”