200 Chapter 197 The Gnomish God
Joseph watched Stella talk to Gnorma through a second story window, before turning towards the stairs that would take him up to the attic space. He had known from the moment he laid eyes on the small woman, that she wasn't who she was pretending to be, and her madness was being held at bay by the same pin that camouflaged her appearance. It didn't remove the madness, so every time she took it off, her mind slid a little further away.
Taking the small stairs two or three at a time, he arrived at the very top floor of the palace, and saw the man reclining in a rocker by the window, almost immediately. His hair was pure white, and his pointed ears stuck out from his head in classic gnome fashion. Turning his head, he gave Joseph a smile, and patted the bench next to him as an invitation to sit.
"Don't worry," chuckled the gnome, "I guarantee it won't buckle under your weight."
Joseph studied the gnome god, who was sitting before him so calmly, and wondered what was going on. No other god would willingly present themselves before him in the flesh, for fear of him killing them.
"I'm not here for you to kill me, and I definitely don't mean you any harm, I just want to have a decent conversation with you, without having to go through that system's editing channel. I want you to hear exactly what I say."
Joseph nodded, still suspicious, and sat down on the bench. It wasn't very comfortable, and his unease grew.
"You have caused a god a lot of grief and made a lot of gods scared of you, so I thought it would be good if I met you in person, so you knew that I was not an enemy."
"I understand your words, but this still seems odd to me, with the servant you chose to use below, having killed off all of the royal family, and not actually being a gnome."
"My gnomes stopped following me, right before the attack on the World Tree. They had decided they didn't need me anymore, and were ready to announce to the world, and their common people, that I was no longer needed. The attack occurred before they could do that, and they came running back to me, pleading for me to help them. The lack of prayer from them, caused my powers to weaken, so while I was able to protect them by sinking the city and creating the barrier, I had to resort to drastic measures."
"The brownies," guessed Joseph.
"Yes. The god they prayed to, had been killed a couple of months before the attack, and they were desperate to find one to take them on. The elven god refused them, on the basis that they did nothing but harass the elves. Though that mischief is designed into their genes."
Joseph nodded thoughtfully. That explained why Stella hated Gnorma so much. They were a common enemy with each other, even though she had never had the interactions with a brownie in this life, she had plenty of memories.
Stella had explained to him, while they were in the bubble, that Sylva had so many more memories than her, she had struggled with keeping herself separate from who Sylva had been. They had devised a way for him to create a barrier of magic in her mind, to keep herself separate, without losing all of the memories of Sylva in the process. Occasionally an emotion of Sylva's still bled through though, because he didn't really understand emotions that well.
"Why is there a brownie here, and why are you here to talk to me?" asked Joseph.
"The brownies knew that the gnomes would never agree to shelter them in their city during the impending time without mana, and that they would all die, so an agreement was made between me, the royal family, and the brownies as a whole. The brownies would sacrifice all but one of themselves, to give me the power to rescue the city, and in return, the royal family would provide shelter to the one remaining brownie, until the savior arrived to restore the city to the surface."
"Except the brownie has now killed the royal family, and the barrier hasn't fallen with the return to the surface," said Joseph.
"During the past tens of hundreds of years, I have been asleep, like most of the gods, and have been unaware of what was going on. It wasn't until you started us waking up, that I was able to check up on things, and see what was happening."
"And now, you wish to request another favor?" guessed Joseph, knowing that was why the god had gone to so much trouble to meet with him. Otherwise he would have just shared the information with the system, and been done with him.
"I'm not sure what kind of reward I can provide to you, because I don't have the power to remove the barrier. I am next to nothing right now, until my people learn of me enough to start praying to me. I fear that someone will recognize my weakness, and try to capitalize on it."
"If I take the barrier down, while you are still so weak, anyone could come in and take over this city, effectively destroying your chances of returning to power. I think I will leave it in place for now. As for your people learning of you, go out there and tell them. Surely you can do small miracles to impress them?" asked Joseph.
"No, see you've placed me in a bit of a quandary. If I go out there, after you've been seen, they will assume that you are the one who has returned them to the surface, not me. Anything that I do to impress them, will pale in comparison. I don't quite know what to do."
Joseph thought about that for a moment, the irony of the situation not lost on him, of a god asking him for advice.
Shaking his head, he turned to the god, "What of the brownie?"
"I promised her safety until the city was returned to the surface and the barrier went down. Until the barrier goes down, I can't have you killing her. She needs to be let out of the city, so she can go hide in the forest and reproduce."
Joseph blinked a couple of times. "How can she reproduce? Does she store sperm inside of her to make more babies?"
The god chuckled. "No, brownies infect plants and the seeds grow new ones. She has enough seeds from every brownie that was sacrificed, to completely bring back the entire race. They are part plant in nature."
"Ah," said Joseph with a shake to his head. That was… confusing.
"You are a god, I recommend you think back on what made you a god in the beginning, and repeat those actions. These people followed you for a reason, so remind them of that reason. Tell them that I only came because you wanted me to. You don't have to tell them that I was given a reward for raising the city."
The god laughed and scratched his head, "About that…"