NEW Story: Drip
"And who is this lady?"
“That’s Tora, a Palace God who comes to Pachinki,” Tzipora said, stumbling over her words. “The other Goddesses don’t like her much, um, and she’s quite powerful. She goes to Pachinki to unite mortals against the Palace.”
“I see,” Baron said, not following but nodding politely. “She looks a lot like you, doesn’t she?”
“Oh, well, I don’t know,” Tzipora said, brushing away the question with another piece of paper pulled from her schoolbag. “This is her mortal bodyguard, Hyssop.”
“What kind of name is Hyssop?”
“It’s made up.”
“I see. Why not use normal names?”
“Because I keep telling you, it’s not a normal world, it’s a completely different one,” Tzipora whined in that way she did when you weren’t keeping up. “Hyssop means ‘Guardian of the Poor’ in his language, so it’s sort of a metaphor.”
“You’ve put a lot of thought into this.”
Tzipora talked fast and anxiously. Pachinki was a private fantasy – a dreamscape of magic and planets and monsters. She was showing Baron her drawings because she shared everything with him. But now, in his hands, her drawings looked all wrong. The people looked weird and her story seemed childish. It was embarrassing.
“…The Palace only exists because they believe in themselves… The moment they lose faith, they lose their powers and collapse their space in the Marble Realm,” she said, then stopped and rubbed her nose. “Sorry, I’m just going on and on. I get boring quickly.”
“No, you don’t,” Baron said. “Is Tora planning to rob them of their faith?”
“Do you mean it?”
“I’m not being tedious?”
“No, of course not. I want to know.”
She looked relieved and rubbed her nose again. “Yes, she does, but it’s not that simple. You see…”
They sat there in the afternoon sun for over an hour, talking, shuffling papers.