Ch3.52 The Pearl

“You should know better,” Alma whispers softly, in an almost stoical sigh.

Leaning over the unconscious Gwydion, her hand resting gently on the god’s extremely pale cheek, she brings her face closer to his. With the lightest of touches, their lips connect.

Searching for the thread now binding their life-forces, Alma finds a point of entry and slowly releases a portion of her mana into the god, infusing him with some much-needed power. She feels the energy abandon her, flooding into him as she willingly drains herself to strengthen his vital force, keeping only what is absolutely necessary to sustain herself. When she can afford to give no more of her mana, she breaks away from bond and touch and examines the god for signs of change.

For a moment, nothing happens.

“Hmm… am I too late?” the goddess wonders aloud.

But not much longer goes by before Gwydion seems to sprout new life, color returning to his cheeks, his breathing becoming stronger and deeper. No longer at risk of collapse, the god sleeps.

Alma smiles at this little victory. “No, I’m not,” she answers to herself.

Exhausted herself, she sits by his side, her back leaning against the same stalagmite that supports his reclining body. Before her, Nevieve sleeps in her pool and the Pearl still hovers contentedly above the water. To her left, Gwydion slumbers, his rhythmic breathing inviting rest. All is well for now. All there is left for Alma to do is stand guard.


She wakes up to a male voice calling her name in concern.

“Alma?” the voice insists, adding the touch of a hand to her shoulder to its plea. “Alma?”

Slowly, the goddess opens a weary eye. The headache hits almost immediately, clouding her sight, forcing her back into soothing darkness. A moment passes, and she opens both eyes to look at Sky’s concerned face. His lips part in a smile at the sight of her awakening.

“Glad to see you pulled through, Sergeant,” he says in a friendly tone.

“The Oracle?” Alma mumbles almost unintelligibly.

“Your mother told me where she’d sent you and I came by to check on you,” Sky goes on, seemingly unaware of Alma’s question. “All is well now. The Pearl is back, the Oracle is safe and Dion there seems to have made himself a new friend,” the Inspector adds with a smirk and a jerk of his thumb to a point above and beyond his shoulder, where Gwydion stands showering Nevieve with his charm, much to her apparent amusement.

Well, I guess he is back to his normal self, Alma muses, the mana headache hitting her with a sudden wave as if in punishment for her malevolent thoughts.

Rubbing her eyes, the goddess waits for the pain to subside before accepting Sky’s hand and letting him help her rise to her feet. Leaning on his arm for support, Alma watches him produce a mana orb from a pocket and offer it to her.

“Oh, I couldn’t,” she protests immediately.

“Take it,” Sky insists with a kind smile. “I figured that restoring the Pearl would leave you drained, so I brought it over just in case. Brought one for Gwydion too. Please, take it.”

The god doesn’t need to insist for much longer before Alma takes the orb and consumes its contents. Feeling her strength at least partially restored, the headache subsiding greatly, the goddess finds herself strong enough to stand without aid. Walking to the edge of the pool, with Sky following close behind ready to assist if needed, Alma comes to stand before the Oracle, who immediately puts an end to Gwydion’s conversation to focus her attention on the young goddess.

A friendly smile blooms on Nevieve’s lips as the Oracle’s white eyes focus on Alma. The iridescent lines that decorate the mermaid goddess’ cheeks seem to dance as Nevieve says, “Thank you so very much.”

Alma feels the intensity of the white gaze on her as the Oracle goes on with her speech, her words clearly aimed at the assembly of gods before her, her eyes looking at nothing but the bottom of Alma’s very soul.

“The Siren’s Pearl is back and the taint those Dukaines had put on it is gone. I am glad that our paths crossed at this point. Three Rats needed you here.”

“I am afraid our task is only half done,” Sky says, his voice tense, almost uneasy in Alma’s ears. “If the Pearl was taken once from your keep, it could certainly be taken again. But I do think we may be able to help with that as well.”

Much to Alma’s relief, these words seem to pull the Oracle’s attention from her. As Nevieve focuses on Sky, her smile turning into a strange grin, she inquires, “And what exactly do you suggest, little firefly?”

Sky turns pale under her gaze, causing Alma to wonder just what he thinks the Oracle is seeing. “Please, follow me to the main pool,” he asks them all as he turns to leave.



a special announcement

Dear Readers,

Today is a very special day to us. One year ago, we officially launched Of Gods and Bunnies.

We had a shared idea, a dream, a story to tell. We didn’t know if anyone would read it. We didn’t know if it would be worth reading. But we believed in the characters, the setting, the story, and each other. We believed in ourselves. It was something we wanted to do, together, as friends, sharing this creative process, even if the only people we entertained turned out to be us.

But little by little, we attracted readers. And knowing that you’re out there has pushed us to strive to improve our writing, to go farther and deeper in our storytelling. When life gets busy and we just have no choice but to focus on other things, OGB is on our minds – Alma, Dion, Sky, May, Kyri, Jack, Sage, all banging away at the insides of our heads, wanting to speak, to act. They have become our close friends, our faithful companions, pulling our minds in strange new directions, more complex and real than we could ever have hoped for. And when the time comes, when the need to see them again, to know they are doing, becomes just too much to bear, and we get back into it, as we just recently did, it is hard to describe the joy of writing again, letting those voices out, together.

(A peek behind the scenes: We’re almost done with Chapter Four, and we think you’re going to love it. Stick around for the drama!)

It is extremely gratifying to hear from you, publicly in the comments or via private message, and to know that we are doing something that touches people. Please don’t hesitate to contact us, and please, if you know anyone who you think might enjoy this, turn them onto it. We can assure you that few things are better than sharing something you love with someone you care about.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. And here we are, still going strong. So whether you’ve been with us from early on, or whether this is the first OGB post you’ve read, we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. This has been an incredible journey and we truly do hope you will continue to join us as the paths and stories of our beloved mortals, gods and Bunnies unwind.

Until the next post...


Ch3.51 The Pearl


The voice enters his world softly, as if coming from very far away. Feeling weak and drained, he opens his eyes into darkness and searches for the source of the voice. Although he senses a presence close by, he sees no one in the velvety, comfortable gloom spreading before him.
“Who’s there?” he asks, feeling the words catch in his throat.
Suddenly, the darkness seems to waver as if in response to his question. Somewhere at eye level, the blackness sprouts bright, silvery-blue wings attached to a little, golden body. Fascinated by the tiny thing, Dion reaches a hand to touch it. The feeling on his hand is that of soft solidity and warmth, as if the gloom had reached out a hand to hold his. And yet, the little brilliant creature seems to evade him, its wings flapping frantically while it dances in the air just beyond the god’s reach.
She was draining you, little soul, the soft, kind voice whispers again.
Unable to identify the speaker of the whispered melodious words, Dion searches through his library of memories. For some reason, the voice brings back blurry memories of sweet smiles, a gentle touch, a generic female voice half-sung, half-whispered through delicate lush lips.

“Mother?” Dion asks tentatively.
Took you to an inch of your immortal life, the voice goes on.

In front of the god, the darkness sprouts another bright little creature, and then another and another, until there are hundreds swarming before him, flying together in formation, taking a different shape in their gathering. A female form with long, flowing hair and a graceful, slightly familiar face made of a thousand dots of light appears before him.
“Are you my mother?” the god asks, his words still feeling like they’re anchored to his throat.
You should know better, the voice rings, now appearing to come from the figure in front of him.

Suddenly, the swarm moves forth and the lady of light moves toward him, leaning close to his face. A flickering hand reaches for his cheek, stroking it lightly, like a cool summer’s night breeze, while glimmering lips touch his ever so softly, ever so gently, in a kiss that is like fresh, pure water to a parched man. Warmth and strength infuses Dion, leaving him partially restored but still confused.
“Please,” he nearly begs. “I don’t remember. Is that how you sound?”
Hmmm… Am I too late? the glowing figure wonders, tilting her head.
“ARE YOU MY MOTHER?” Dion shouts, desperate to hear no words coming out of his own mouth.

No longer preyed upon by his previous weakness but suddenly feeling very tired, his eyelids falling against his will, the god begins to drift again into a world of slumber. As his world turns dark again, he sees the woman break into a million light specks and fade away, her final words hovering in the air for a minute.
No… I’m not.


Ch3.50 The Pearl

A ring of golden light appears by the water with Alma kneeling in its center, the Pearl still hovering gently just above her cupped hands. Exhausted, confused as to where she is suddenly finding herself, the goddess tilts forward and falls, her hands reaching out and touching the ground before her to break her fall. As Alma’s eyes begin to close, she sees the Pearl float toward the pool and come to a halt just above the water, its warm, soft light pulsating and spreading in waves throughout the grotto, its cleansing song washing over everything. Free of taint and binding, the Siren’s Pearl seems to celebrate its safe return home.

A light touch against her leg captures her attention. Reaching a hand to the source of the pressure, she feels something round, small enough to hold in her hand. Bringing it closer to her eyes, each movement difficult and almost painful in her weakened state, she recognizes the little glass orb through the growing haze that threatens to rob her of sight. A mana ball.

Without a second thought, she breaks the mystic seal and consumes the godpower with hunger, feeling it bring new life into her with its pure energy. The hangover will come eventually, but the godpower in the ball is enough to lift the veil from her eyes and thoughts.

Sorry for consuming your mana, Gwydion, she muses. But I really needed that.

After a moment’s rest, Alma manages to get back on her feet. Finding the room surprisingly empty of both Gwydion and Nevieve, she approaches the pool, feeling the Pearl’s influence washing over her still. A tentative touch to the water lets her know that the cleansing has worked. The bite is gone, the draining influence erased, the strange scent eliminated. The water is clean and pure again. And...strange.

Looking carefully into the pool, Alma gazes at the shadows that stretch and cover the bottom. Slowly, she begins to make out shapes. An arm, a foot, a tail, a head, a leg… another head.

“OH, damn it!” Alma curses. “He’s in the pool!”

Diving in, her thoughts allowing no further concerns, the goddess reaches the embraced, kissing couple and pries Gwydion from the unconscious Oracle’s unresisting arms. Swimming with difficulty, as the unconscious god provides only dead weight exponentially increased by his wet clothes and boots, Alma resurfaces and brings him back to dry land.
“Great, wet again!” the goddess mutters as she struggles with the burden that is Gwydion. “And all because Mr. ‘Call me Dion’ couldn’t help but kiss the mermaid.”
Pulling him out of the water, his feet dragging in the fine sand at the edge of the pool, the goddess props him against a stalagmite, kneels by his side and proceeds to check the handsome god for signs of life.


Ch3.49 The Pearl

“Where did she go? What happened?” Sky demands, looking at the empty space where Alma had been just a moment before.

Smiling at his confusion, Lyria turns to face him as she cancels her shield. “Relax, little demon. She is exactly where she needs to be.”

“And where is that?” the god nearly shouts. “She’s my officer! She’s under my command and–” He pauses, swallowing his words.

Lyria tilts her head at the half-spoken sentence.

“And…?” she asks, her expression and tone inviting him to continue.

He masters his emotions as well as he can. “And she...is my friend.”

Lyria nods, radiating warmth and empathy. “Good to know she is finally making some.” She walks slowly towards Sky, stopping a mere short step away from him. “But, you see, she is also my daughter. Do you really think I would ever send her, alone and weakened, into the jaws of danger?”

Sky looks down slightly to fix his gaze on the shorter goddess’ eyes, all the while realizing that the answer to that is not necessarily a simple one. Even so, he says, “Of course...of course. I’m sorry.” He takes a deep breath. “So...what do we do now?”

“Well, you are the commanding officer,” Lyria says brightly. “I am a mere aid in this matter. What do you wish to do?”

Sky’s jaw locks in a stern grimace as he responds, “I wish to make sure my people are safe. And I wish to make sure the Pearl is safe, and that this ward is safe.”

“So many things to do, all at once…” Lyria nearly whispers. Her hand reaches out with no sign of hesitation and touches his cheek, stroking it as if Sky was just a lost child. Her words sound soft and kind as she says, “You take on such a heavy burden alone… Tell me, does the word 'friend' just mean someone to keep safe to you, little one?”

The god fights the urge to close his eyes at her touch, its warmth and silky feel penetrating his skin all the way to his core. He looks down at Lyria’s beautiful maternal countenance, his gaze losing its severity. “It is my duty to send those under my command into danger, at times. But always balanced with the need to keep them as safe as possible while allowing them to do their jobs.”

Lyria removes her hand from his face at these words.

“I see.” She shrugs lightly. “Oh, well! Such is life, isn’t it, Sky?”

He frowns. “So, Lyria...how shall we proceed from here? Since I don’t know where it is you’ve sent your daughter.”

“Oh, you know where she is.” The goddess waves off the Inspector’s flash of annoyance. “You just happen to suspect she is somewhere else. And once you reach her, these might prove helpful.”

With a graceful flourish, Lyria holds out a hand. As she does so, ivy stretches leisurely out from over her shoulder and curls around her arm, covering her open hand for an instant. In the blink of an eye, it curls back, leaving three greyish-gold eggs in her exposed palm. Smiling a serene smile, the goddess extends her hand to Sky in offering.

The parlor trick merits a lopsided smile from the god of rebellion but he takes the eggs even so. “And what shall hatch from them, Lady?”

Her expression unchanged, Lyria’s voice is a pool of patience as she asks, “Tell me, Sky, how do you propose to keep the Pearl safe, now that your… Dukaines, was it?” – here the god nods in confirmation – “Now that they know how it can be taken?”

The question asked with such surgical precision forces Sky to breathe deeply and look down. “Yes. I haven’t come up with anything yet, I have to admit. There hasn’t been much time to plan for the aftermath.”

Smiling softly almost if the weight of her words doesn’t burden her, the goddess explains, “The Siren’s Pearl is older than most of us, little demon. One of only a few items left from the times of original creation. It has survived wars and it has survived time, kept faithfully by many a guardian of which Nevieve is merely the most recent.”

The slightest of shadows creeps over her face as she adds, “But throughout all of the ages of gods and men, it had never been attacked in such vile manner. These people must be stopped, Sky, lest they find their way into stealing even more dangerous things.”

Even under the gentle melody of her voice, the gravity of Lyria’s words deeply disturbs Sky. “Lady, the wizard who, as near as we can tell...corrupted the Pearl – according to our research – he was no great talent. Are you saying that someone more powerful...much more powerful, must have given him the magic needed to do this?”

The goddess raises a delicate eyebrow, her expression looking remarkably like Alma’s for a moment. “I am saying nothing. But I do find it difficult to believe a single drop of poison could taint a whole spring...” Her voice trails off ominously but Lyria soon looks at Sky again and smiles reassuringly. “I am sure you will find a way to stop them. In the meantime –” here she gestures towards the eggs “– those will help. They are naga eggs. Do you know how to make them hatch?”

A low whistle escapes Sky’s lips. “Nagas. No...I’m more familiar with the adult portion of their life cycle. Took me awhile to recover from that fight…” He touches his left arm and grins in painful memory of the day it was ripped off by one of the creatures.

The expression on his face makes Lyria laugh, her laughter so very warm, so sincere, so charming and inviting that it fills the god’s heart, softening his stern countenance and bringing a smile to his lips.

“Yes, well, then you know how they will make powerful guardians.” She covers Sky’s open hand with hers. “If you want nagas to be loyal to you as their master, you must give them something of your essence to awaken them and make them hatch. They will remember you and do your bidding.”

Sky looks down and nods his comprehension. “I see… And there are three eggs…” He looks back at Lyria. “Sergeant Gwydion is with the Oracle now...and I assume you sent Alma there...and then there is me.”

The goddess looks genuinely surprised at this. “Oh, there are three of you? How wonderful! I just thought that three would be a nice, magical number.” She smiles innocently. “It should work nicely, then. And now, Sky…”

Lyria touches his cheek again, softly stroking it down to his jaw, then brushing down his throat to rest on his shoulder. “You have your people to check on and a whole ward to save.” Her hand travels down to his arm, squeezing it lightly before letting ago. “And please, do feel free to visit me, when you have the time. You look like the kind of person I would very much like to know better.”

Sky looks down into her captivating, intensely green eyes. In the depths of her charming gaze, he believes he can see sincerity. He loses himself in her eyes for a moment before stepping back and bowing low.

“Thank you, Lyria,” he says. “You have done a great thing for the people of Three Rats.”

A few quick steps and he is out of the room, shouting up for Sage to find Corporal Kaur for him, to guide him to the Oracle’s grotto. Behind him, the door to Alma’s room closes, pushed by a warm breeze reminiscent of ripe fruit and birdsong.