19 Bad news

Beth walked up the path, through winding corridors and busy streets. The broom that she dragged around behind her lazily made a scratching noise that annoyed the passersby. But she didn't care. What use did she have of their approval? Even when she'd be in trouble, nobody would bother to stand up for her. In this man eat man world, she was alone and bored. With her only hope being the system, she trudged forward, lazily taking every step, eager to get back to her room after the job.

She passed through the middle of the town, ignoring the whispers that seemed to follow her everywhere she went. Her thoughts went back to the seed that she had planted the other day. Would it have grown into a sapling? She wondered. Today was her lucky day. She'd be able to see its progress since she was going to the Northern part of the town, Beth thought, smiling to herself.

That was when she noticed it. The crowd in this part of the town had grown bigger. She excused herself as she dodged many excited slaves. They were all talking loudly, stopping all kinds of work.

"Did you hear?! There is a tree on the edge of our town!" Someone exclaimed to her right.

Beth paused, turning in the direction. Had she heard that right? A tree had grown at the edge of the town?! Was that the one she had planted? But how did it grow so fast? It had only been two days, and she hadn't even watered it after planting the seed. She leaned in, hoping to hear more of the conversation.

"What?! How does it look like? I want to see too!" A slave asked the one who had just passed on the information.

The first slave shook her head, saying, " I don't know. I heard it from someone else. The gods have sealed off the Northern part of the town. No one is allowed to go in."

Beth's brows raised in surprise. The gods have gone so far as to seal the part of the town to curb the news? This was bad news. What if they do something to the tree and her first task fails? What would she do then? Desperate to save her efforts, she ran towards the North, dragging her tools behind her.

But to her dismay, the information that she had heard seemed to be true. The narrow street that marked the beginning of the Northern part of the town was blocked, with huge stones with some sort of yellow stickers on it. It read in bold letters 'restricted entry'.

"Not today." She whispered, climbing on top of one of the rocks.

As she was about to jump down, a minor god came rushing towards her from ahead. She had seen him in the office once. He looked alarmed at seeing her.

"Where do you think you're going?!" He shouted, waving at her in irritation.

Beth held up the broom and the basket. "I'm on cleaning duty." She said, putting forth her best excuse.

"You cannot go in." the minor god replied, shaking his head.

"But Number One said that-"

"Scram, slave!" He shouted, pushing her back.

Beth tumbled down, her wee little behind hitting the hard ground with no subtle force.

"Ouch!" She exclaimed, putting a small hand to support her back.

The minor god smirked at her and turned away, sitting down on one of the rocks. Beth rose, dusting off the dirt on her white dress. A little tear appeared beside the hem of the cloth. She sighed in defeat. It seemed like her dress was going to be full of stitches and tears very soon. She glared at the minor god's back. How was she going to get in if he was going to sit there? She wondered.

But her answer presented itself to her soon. As she waited for a miracle, hiding behind a wall, the man slid down the rock and rushed towards the opposite direction, clutching his private part.

"A good time for attending your needs," Beth murmured under her breath, giggling at the retreating figure of the man.

Placing her tools on the ground, she quickly climbed one of the rocks and slid down to the other side. Without wasting any time, she rushed to the edge of the town. There weren't any slaves, servants, or even gods in the streets. It was too easy for her to reach her destination.

But soon, that scenery changed. She spotted a group of minor gods, all dressed in purple robes standing around what seemed to a huge tree. Beth's jaw dropped in awe. The tree was as tall as ten of her rooms placed on top of each other. It was as wide as her room and had several branches full of lush green leaves. Not only that but on its branches were the most beautiful fruit that she had ever seen. She hid behind a wall to get a better look.

"This is bad news!" Two exclaimed, waving his hands desperately in the air. "If the higher-ups get to know then-"

"What should we do, One?" Three asked, turning to the cold minor god.

All the gods gathered around the tree, turned towards One. They were eagerly waiting for her command. There were at least ten of them, including One, Two, and Three.

One looked annoyed. Beth gulped nervously. The woman was usually quite scary, but it was nothing compared to her expression at that moment. She looked like a volcano ready to explode.

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"Cut it down at once. And make sure the news doesn't spread." She said, looking up the tree.

"But it's a Winged Golden Pear!" Three exclaimed. "Cutting it is equal to committing murder! If we are caught-"

"Then," One asked, turning to the woman with a murderous aura, "would you rather see hope spread among the slaves and the servants?"

This won't do! If they were going to cut the tree down, then she had no time. She had to reach her room before the first strike landed on the plant, Beth thought as she turned around in fright.

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