“I’ve left the military.” The silver haired man declared.
“Interesting.” A voice echoed in his mind. His elder plant. His parent. A voice that he’d listened to for years, but also a voice that he didn’t want to hear any longer. “Who would’ve thought that even the military had a shortage of information?”
“I’ve left because I no longer need such information.” He answered, without any hint of emotion.
“Oh?” It asked. If a plant could smirk, he was sure that the elder’s face would’ve been painted with the expression. An unconcealed face of conceited amusement. “So, where is your next target? A human family? A corporate establishment?”
“Neither.” He replied, stiffly. Just a few days ago, cutting off his sponsor like this would’ve never crossed his mind. The mere idea of it had been unfathomable. But now… Now, he had her letter. A letter requesting for something that the elder would never approve of. He brushed his hand over his chest, where the paper remained hidden, and smiled contentedly as his hand fell back to his side. A letter that proved that his elder had been wrong this entire time.
“So mysterious?” It asked. “It’d be easier for me to make arrangements if you gave me an itinerary.”
“There’s no need.” He answered, ignoring the snakes slithering around his feet. This wasn’t the first time that his elder had used animals to intimidate him. The practice had been growing increasingly common since he’d asked to go to the military. A constant reminder that he wasn’t like the other plants. A reminder that he would never be one of them. A reminder to know his place.
“Is that so?” His elder asked, apparently still amused by their exchange. “When has my son grown so independent?”
“I’m not getting anymore information on your behalf.” He said, as cooly as he could. Emotions never did well before his elder. If he could end this on a positive note, he’d very much prefer to.
“What?” His elder inquired, enthusiastically. Too enthusiastically. He didn’t need to turn to know that the snakes behind him were growing increasingly agitated. “Is there some sort of human trend that I’m not aware of?”
“You didn’t mishear or misunderstand.” He replied, unfazed by his elder’s growing rage. “I’ve come to tell you good bye.”
“I’m your only family.” It threatened. “You should know better than to defy me. The humans out there… your friend… none of them would want to be around you once they learn of what you really are and what you’ve been doing.”
“I’ll do my best to manage.” He answered with a sigh. He hadn’t wanted it to escalate this way, but there wasn’t much he could do after it did. His elder wasn’t exactly a being open to reason.
“I own this end of the forest.” It screamed in his mind, as he walked past it. “So long as I will it, you’ll never make it out of here alive!”
“Then, so be it.” He whispered, without pausing. He would not look back. Though the plant had done much for him in the past, it had all stemmed from selfishness. Everything it had given had came with a price. Everything it had done had been for the sake of information acquisition. His only reprieve had been granted to keep him under it’s thumb.
In the end, his elder had only shared with him as much as he had given in return. He clenched his fists, blocking out the endless screaming. If he was going to be a tool, it would be on his own terms. The stark differences between Xiyana’s concern for her brother and the treatment he received from his elder plant couldn’t be more clear from her letter. Even the sheer attitude differences between that of his teacher in military and that of his elder spoke volumes. He was done with self-deception. Regardless of what he was and regardless of what the plant said, he could see the truth now:
His elder had never treated him as family.
And now, regardless of the consequences, it was time to say goodbye.