Rise of Glie Chapter 40
Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 39: Old Wings
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 40: New Wings
Once the pulp has bound itself together, she can hang the sheets to dry the rest of the way. Bangou has found that making paper helps build her patience, and is relatively easy on her sore back and dying wings.
Today is the day that Aware warned of: that horrible day when the numbness would be replaced by agony, and after two days, by nothing at all. She had settled onto the warm grass, and now she can't move. Wincing, trying not to make too much noise, she must simply endure the loss of her wings.
It felt like someone played with her hair using a single finger. She looks up and sees a crow. She already knew they let themselves in through the roof, but they've never gotten this close before. The crow bows and nudges a leaf towards her. It picks up another like it and chews on the stem.
"For me?" she asks.
The crow holds out its right wing for a moment and nods.
Bangou takes a bite of the bitter leaf and spits it out, unable to swallow.
The crow flaps its left wing twice and takes the leaf, again chewing on the stem. After this he flies away, but soon returns with another just like it.
"Oh, like this?" she starts sucking on the stem, which doesn't taste much better, but is quite a bit juicier.
The crow extends his right wing and then extends both to fly off again.
"Where are you-AH!" she yelps as she tries to turn to follow the crow. She lies flat again and cries until she feels its beak play in her hair again.
This time he presents a cluster of her favorite berries, and suddenly, she realizes that she's hungry. "Oh, thank you!" she cries, and then starts eating, the searing pain in her wings subsides just a little.
She hears the steps of the two approaching men, "Aware," she rasps before spitting out a pit, "thanks for coming so early."
She watches as the crow curiously lifts its right foot, and while precariously balanced on the tips of the feathers of its left wing and fully extending his left leg, balls his right foot into a fist and waves it twice through the air.
Tiindare kneels in front of Bangou and signs, "This is Wally," giving the crow a little wave, "That is his identifying gesture. Only three of the crows have such a gesture."
"Do you need anything from me, ma'am?" Aware asks.
"A bowl of rice would be very nice," she says cheerfully, although the pain is still obvious in her voice, "I'm ravenous right now, and I think it's the raven's fault."
"Sure," Aware says, "I remember where the stove is, but-" he turns from the room's door for a moment, "Shiden fasted through the loss of his wings. I don't think he had any appetite."
"I haven't eaten in four days," Bangou says, "praying that this would be easier for me." After munching on another of the crow's berries, "until this little fella came along."
Aware returns with a steaming bowl of rice after half an hour. Bangou slowly consumes it with a spoon, her fingers too unstable for chopsticks. "Thanks for your help, Aware," she says, "You better be heading back. They'll miss you, and if you're gone again like after Shiden, it might blow my cover."
"You'll be okay without me?" Aware asks.
"Don't be offended," she says, starting to sound like a real Communicator, "Shiden really was all alone, and with a common dream, you two were very close, I'd imagine." She winces through a little spasm in her right wing, then finishes, "Tiindare is here all the time, and Wally doesn't look like he has any other obligations at the moment."
Aware leaves remembering that the guard and the crow really are sentient spirits.
"So, how smart are you really?" Bangou asks the crow, "I always figured there was more to you; that you're not the old scavenger birds God made to keep gardens clean and play by the side of the road. You guys named Two-long Two-short, after all."
"These crows," Tiindare signs, "Are brought back like haibane, outside the wall. They were once human, too. Unlike me."
"Unlike you?" she asks aloud, unable to sign, not just because of the pain, but because Wally seems to be very content with her gently scratching his neck with two fingers.
"I was a monster from outside the wall," Tiindare explains, "I learned of the Saviour when I found a First Book in some smashed town. Hard to read when you're a seven hundred kilogram Hell Knight." He sits down, then explains that the volume he found was exactly like the one in hell itself, where the only plants in the intermediate dimension ever grow. [mentioned in FHD Remix Chapter 25 (Spoiler warning if you haven't read Three Worlds In One)] In it he learned of an utterly alien concept called "love", and with it things like hope, faith, and forgiveness. He had no idea what he was getting into, and had expected to be executed when, eventually, he would be asked to host a demon spirit, a rich reward for any hellspawn, and a more likely one given his size. He woke up inside the wall, a tiny Toga, but host to the Holy Spirit.
"Pleased to meet you," she says when he is done, "I wish I could have signed that properly." She pays dearly in stinging agony for attempting to stand up again, but once it subsides, she is grateful that she could forget the pain enough to make the attempt. She lies down again and cries.
Tiindare asks her why.
"I can still feel them," she bawls, "but when I wake up in the morning, they might be gone forever."
It takes several minutes of gentle prodding before the crying ex-haibane opens her eyes to see his hands answer, "Not forever, Washi. I'm sure he will give you new wings."
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 41:Boys!!