Swamped Chapter 31 Page 5

“There’s only one god,” you say, a little bitter. “Maybe there’s more for you humans, but Reth’s the only one who gave the greblings any help when we needed it.”

Mantis nods in understanding.

“We humans have much to atone for – and not all of our sins are in the past. I suppose it makes sense to believe the gods must atone as well.”

“I don’t want your pity or an apology. I’m just answering your damn question.”

“Thank you for taking the time. I hope you will think about what that answer truly means to you. Now, I must get back to work.”

And just like that, he leaves. What a strange man.

Well. At least he’s gone. You get back to mopping, now that he’s not unnerving you.

“Personally, I never thought Reth was that great either,” Crosswinds mutters, as they dump a bucket of something – fish? – in an alligator’s pen. “Sure, we survived, but it ain’t like she did anythin’ much for us afterwards.”

“I get where you’re coming from,” you reply. “Of course, there’s still colonies that would hang you for saying that.”

“There sure are.”

They sound even more bitter than usual. You think you touched a nerve. You decide not to press it and just finish mopping.

A few minutes later, Crosswinds speaks up.

“Okay, that’s good enough. Let’s go.”

They lead you under the floor again. You still feel a little thrown off by Mantis.

Maybe Crosswinds could help you understand what happened back there a little better, if you asked the right questions.

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Ask if Mantis tamed all these critters.

Author’s Note:

This is the first page where I started trying to develop the religion of this world. Before this, there had just been background comments on “gods” and “hells”.

We also get a glimpse of the social tension between humans and greblings, not to mention a sense of some tensions within grebling society.

A lot of the details will be revealed later, so for now I’ll just make a quick comment. I wanted this to be a world where everyone knew the gods were real, just to explore how worship would be different in such a world. Yvonne doesn’t think the gods other than Reth are fake – she just thinks they haven’t done anything worthy of the title of “god”.