The Death Grip of God is a Pleasing Touch

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Chapter three: The Gift

The meeting ended not long after nightfall, and the meeting after that ended at about the same time. With the third meeting coming up soon, Wasp is finding himself warming up to the death god despite not really wanting to. He still hates the look of the town around the god's home, he's not even very fond of his home or some of his more human mannerisms, but his attentive listening throughout their meetings and welcoming attitude are starting to win the dragon over.

Wasp gives the empty rocking chair an annoyed look as he approaches the death god's house. So far every meeting has been held on the front porch, Wasp never having to even knock since the god seems to prefer being outside instead of in, so he can't help the annoyed huff that escapes his mouth when he sees the god's normal chair empty. He walks up the stairs, managing to avoid the creaky one this time, and knocks on the door.

Kaulzulatu, dressed down from his normal dress shirt and slacks and only wearing pants, opens the door and smiles at Wasp. "Ah hello there Wasp, sorry about my attire I was rather tired and did not realize our meeting was today." His torso looks rotted, with a large hole starting just below his ribs and speckles of discolored flesh everywhere else.

Wasp pauses for a moment as he looks at the god's torso before looking slightly grossed out when he processes what he's looking at. "It's fine. I knew you were rotting considering your the god of death and decay and all that, but I didn't know it was that bad." There's a hint of concern in his voice, worried for the god despite not really wanting to be.

Kaulzulatu smiles slightly more at the hint of concern, taking it as the dragon starting to like him. "The discoloration turns to rot or gets better depending on my mood, same goes to the rot on my face, but the hole stays the same no matter what. I will go put a shirt on though, I am aware rot is disgusting to most. People don't really like to be reminded of their own mortality. Would you like to come in?" He moves to the side while holding the door and tilts his head slightly while watching Wasp.

Wasp glances at the rocking chairs, not too sure of how he feels about stepping into the god's home. He looks back and steps inside. "It's fine if you keep your shirt off if that's more comfortable to you, we are in your home after all, and I have no right to judge you here." He looks around the simple, rather plain living room. There are paintings of Kaulzulatu, a human woman, and a young woman on the wall. "Your family I presume?"

The death god gains a soft smile as he looks at a painting and nods. "Yes, my wi-..." He frowns slightly before continuing. "My ex-wife, Angel, and my daughter, Rose. Both of them are so wonderful… I miss them… I am going to go put on a shirt, please, make yourself at home." Kaulzulatu walks away down a hall, the discolored flesh rotting slightly as he does.

Wasp sits down next to a chair that, like everything else, is clearly not made for dragons like him, and looks around more. He notices a leather-bound book half-hidden under a blanket on the couch and decides to pick it up. The book has no markings on the cover other than random spots of ink on it, though when he opens it he sees "Kaul's sketchbook. If lost please return to Kaulzulatu Berry." Wasp contemplates looking through the sketchbook for a moment before his decision is made for him by a door opening down the hall and Kaul approaching. He quickly closes the book before the god comes into the room.

Kaul notices his sketchbook in Wasp's hands and takes it from him. "That's my sketchbook, I was working on a drawing before you knocked. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't mind you looking through, but I am not fond of showing half-finished works to others." He sits down on the couch and flips to a page in the book. "You do not mind if I continue this while we talk, do you? I will still be listening and asking questions if I do not understand something, I just want to complete this drawing."

Wasp shakes his head, understanding the gods want to complete the drawing. "No, I don't mind, If I start something I normally want to complete it quickly too. This is also your house, even if I did mind it's not my place to say so."

Kaulzulatu chuckles and smiles at Wasp, staring at him for a while longer than he normally would before looking down at his book. "Thank you, and this might be my house but you are my guest and I want you to be comfortable in my home." He starts to draw as he talks, glancing up at Wasp occasionally.

The meeting ends up following those same lines, Wasp teaching Kaulzulatu about Kulzutu dragons while he draws, occasionally glancing up at Wasp and asking questions. Whenever he glances up Kaul seems to stare at the dragon for a bit longer than normal, making him curious about what the god is drawing.

At the end of the meeting, Wasp stands to leave but Kaulzulatu stops him. "Wait, I want to show you my drawing. I am not done just yet, but after a bit more coloring I will be. It won't take much longer."

Wasp curiously regards Kaul for a moment before sitting back down. He doesn't exactly want to stay in the god's home, but he can't help but be curious about his drawing and decides to put up with it for a few more minutes. "Fine. I'll stay until you're done with your drawing… which, what are you drawing anyways and why do you want me to stay to see it?"

Kaul smiles at Wasp again and chuckles slightly. "Well, you will see when I show you the drawing. Though one reason I wish to show you is you've been sitting here with me for most of the time I've been drawing it... I also just miss sharing my artwork with others and getting honest opinions from them, and I feel like you would give me your honest opinion."

Wasp nods, knowing he definitely would give the god his honest opinion despite the fact he's a god and he doesn't like him. "That is true, I would give my honest opinion. I'm guessing most are afraid to give their honest opinion due to you being a god?"

"Yes, most think I'll be offended and fear my reaction when in truth I'll happily take any constructive criticism people have to offer. I am good at art but I know I have lots of room to improve, and criticism is the only way I am going to know what to improve. I'm not distant, but most still think me untouchable..." There's clear annoyance and sadness in his voice as he speaks, showing his frustration with being a god.

Wasp pauses for a moment, confused. He’s always been heavily relied on by his people for just about anything, they’ve never been scared to approach him with anything no matter how small it was and he can’t see any reason they’d be afraid to approach the friendly death god. “They… really? I wouldn’t think they’d be scared of your reactions, though then again my people are naturally anxious and easily frightened due to how much weaker we are in comparison to the other dragon species… Hmm… I am sure most will become accustomed to you in time, they just need to realize you have no wish to harm them.”

Kaul smiles and nods, glad to receive comfort from the dragon sitting across from him. He sets his pen down and glances over his finished drawing one last time before turning the book around, revealing a near-perfect picture of Wasp, head held high with a crown set upon it. “Well, here is my drawing. I know the colors are off, I couldn't find the right dyes for the ink, and the crown isn’t exactly proportional to your head but I could not for the life of me figure out how to make it look right.”

Wasp stares at the drawing, shocked by how realistic it is despite the colors being off. He takes the book from Kaul, curiously looking at the drawing. "I… Wow… You are quite the artist, with a very realistic style. The crown looks off because that is not what a crown for dragons look like, that is what a crown for humans looks like… Hmm… Other than what's already been pointed out, I can't find anything else."

Kaul smiles happily at the compliment, enjoying the praise from Wasp. It almost seems like he was hoping for the praise. He takes the book back before carefully ripping the picture from it and handing it over to Wasp. "I was hoping you would like it, I wanted to thank you for teaching me about your species and helping me so I drew this for you. I would also like to thank you for treating me like a normal person instead of a god. So, thank you Wasp, I greatly appreciate it."

Wasp looks from the drawing to Kaul, confused and shocked by the thank you and gift. He's been everything short of mean to the god since he's arrived and he's saying thank you for that? Why is this human raised god so nice to him despite him not nice in return? "I… You're welcome? I don't understand though, I've been less than welcoming to you, and you are thanking me and giving me a gift? Why?"

Kaul chuckles and smiles at Wasp. He thinks the answer the obvious and can't help but find the dragon's confusion funny. "Well yeah, you aren't acting like you like me just because I'm a god, you're treating me like a normal person. I know what everyone thinks of me, after all I'm a god I can read minds, and I know most are scared of me due to the fact I'm a god. You're helping me because you love your people, you would've let me struggle on my own if not for that, and that shows how you think of me as normal and how you love your people. I genuinely enjoy how genuine you are."

Wasp stares at the death god, looking for any sign he might be lying or joking about this. He finds nothing and just looks back to the drawing. "I-I… ahem… Thank you for the drawing farm boy, I really should be leaving though." For once, farm boy was meant in a more affectionate way then a derogatory one.

Kaul catchs the change in tone and perks up, happy to be called farm boy by Wasp for the first time. "I know, it is getting late after all. Goodbye Wasp, and good night." He stands up as Wasp stands up and walks with him to the door, opening it and holding it for him.

Wasp walks home thinking about his exchange with the death god and staring at the picture gifted to him, wondering if he's not actually as bad as the humans that raised him.
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