Dreamy eyed she turned her attention back on the road. “Their bark is of pale yellow, their leaves shimmer oil like in the sun, while their blossoms have all the colors of a rainbow!” princess Fajala spoke with admiration of the trees, but held quite an admiration for Nicodia as well. Like Nicodia wondered so was it certain to Fajala that she was related to the talking trees closer than the mere pollen of a long vanished ancestral tree in the desert. “Similar stories were told if the sandtree.” Venia mumbled, keeping the lurkers in the treetops in her field of vision. “At least I overheard Orthlan talk about it in these words.” she glanced over Nicodias shoulder into the trees, the Floral did not notice that Venia had not looked at her directly. “Their eyes are amber. Deep and thought inspiring they offer the soul of the beholder a momentary rest.” Fajala kept on talking of the trees. Much like Nicodia she largely was unaware of the lurking, whilst her guards were like the two Naga observant of them.”I don’t like this.” Ghony hissed in the tongue of the Naga, the sweetwater dialect sounded to Venia like a formal version of their language, but after all they had a written language, as opposed the seawater Naga only had the spoken word handed down through the ages in their blood. “Me neither.” Venia replied attempting to sound equally as sophisticated. “But they say it’s safe. I presume they want the honey, and thus would let the bees go about their business.” “What are you talking about?” Fajala glanced over her shoulder to the two. “Just how beautiful this forest is.” Venia bowed slightly to her withba radiant smile, hoping it would not look to fake. “Indeed it is!” the princess smiled, “It is older than our hive, even older than our people!” she addressed Nicodia again. “For a future queen she is pretty gullible.” Ghony smirked, still in Naga tongue. A snicker sounded from behind them, a guard of the bees couldn’t help himself. As the princess turned to look at her she dismissed it as having thought of a joke a friend had told her that morning.”But it is nothing that shall pass my lips in your presence, filth like that best stays with us commons.” An expression of disapproval appeared on the juvenile royal face, but protocol dictated that after such declaration the filth indeed stayed with the guard, despite her curiosity awakened. “The winds tell us things.” clear, deep, almond eyes stared emptily at the people beneath the wooden face. “Be cautious when traveling north, that which you see here is only the rural aspects of societies deeply torn apart from their roots. There are cities of stone and iron, housing great knowledge and power, filled with hateful souls that despise nothing more than that which is the different, be it man-bats or man-owls.” sternly the wooden face stared at the visitors. “But to answer your request, yes, you may have some of the processed nectar.” The princess stared at the tall tree, she did not know what she should think of the things the tree had told them. Even though her mother seemed swayed about the matter, she had believed to that moment that the gods the owls believed in were nothing but myth, but the tree had confirmed the claim of her guests, that the Sphinxes were in fact real. “Excuse my boldness,” Nicodia stepped forward, a clear reaction was visible in the wooden face. “but I have traveled far, I am astonished to find other sentient plant life than my people. I would like to learn more about your people.” with a strange mixture of frown and smile the wooden face focused its empty ember eyes on the young floral. “Certainly.” breathless with anticipation Nicodia waited for more words. “Dig your feet into the soil.” the face continued after some time. Surprised Nicodia slipped out of the shoes, glad to feel soil beneath her feet again, she hesitated for a moment, the trees guaranteed safety from any attackers, she could walk without shoes.

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