Ever since Zelena had been hauled against her will into the clutches of the red sap. The cephalopod discovered herself at an impasse. On the one hand, she detested their approach. On the other, they supplied her with research materials, books and security. And thus far, Florentina hadn't demanded much from her. The emerald peach had spent most of her days within their libraries—her feelers were the ideal appendages to assist with the stocking and cataloging of their books.
The sojourner between realms had a bad habit of reading through those dusty tomes. Her thirst for knowledge wasn't easily slaked, and the hunger to know more kept enticing her to delve deeper into their spines. She had culled some erudition through the turning of those pages. The dynasty's wellspring of data was admirable. And their history was quite colorful.
Zelena felt as if she was intruding. The other academics held no compunctions of lingering their eyes on her. Their inquisitive nature made her feel somewhat uneasy and apprehensive. She knew peace whenever she sequestered herself and focused on reading and her duties. Nevertheless, it wouldn't be long before another happened across her. The octopus had suffered greatly at the hands of such studious minds. And this marring of the past wasn't something she could conceal.
The scars of yesteryear were evident. Zelena's skittish and reclusive nature had only bolstered the gossip around her. Whispers of her alien appearance spread like a brush fire. Some were intrigued. Others revolted. In truth, she preferred the latter. For at least they would leave her be. However, all good things must come to an end. And with times passage, it wouldn't be long before Florentina dispatched her expectations for the alien.
Beyond those scholastic walls was a thick jungle. The buildings that encompassed this bastion of education were fungal. And their spongey exterior was shielded by thick plating of enhanced bone. Being a nosy creature, she'd often study and dissect the denizens. Her scrying eyes made mental notes while she often blended within her surroundings. And whenever approached, she'd alter her hue and texture to better suit her habitat, hoping to become imperceptible.
Sometimes, this worked marvelously. And for others, it only further facilitated their desire to dissect the aquatic horror. Ironic, it appeared despite voyaging across the globe, the hearts of the people hadn't shifted. The same faults were present, along with the same aura of trepidation. An atmosphere that made her long for that cave. But alas, it was better than her time stuffed in that flask.
Zelena had received a letter by courier. And rather than read it out loud, she sought a dark and damp place to study it. The basement of the tower of alchemy was one of her preferred lairs. It happened to be tucked out of view, seldom visited, and most of all...quiet. There, she combed through the scribblings in that muted room only to be befogged. Unable to hold back, the octopus plastered a puzzled expression across her countenance.
Florentina was dispatching a mer? An operative of the crimson menace? And she wanted her to make this interloper feel cozy and at ease? Why? The red lady was mean, and Zelena didn't like her much, given the needles she endured while caged like livestock. Shuddering, the emerald sphinx would eat the letter to avoid anyone discovering its contents. And instead of seeking this knife ear out, she'd select to stay within her known burrow and wait for the others to chaperone the man her way.
If he entered that dark enclosure, his eyes would be met with nothing out of the ordinary. The ambush predator had adhered herself to the stone walls with those suction cups. She compressed her body and altered her skin's hue and texture to better merge with that surface. Nevertheless, if the intellectual mer was astute enough or perceptive, he might yet glimpse those emerald and topaz eyes pulsating dimly within the tenebrosity of the chamber. Especially if he had the foresight to let his eye acclimatize to the dearth of ambient lighting.
Zelena wouldn't trust him so easily. She had suffered to his kind and knew of their sullied history. And before she'd even consider stepping from the umbra and into the light, the cephalopod would ensure he wasn't carrying syringes or any vials. In her eyes, men with such trinkets were terrible and up to no good. And all men were meanies. And all meanies would invariably harm her. And Zelena was tired of just that, being hurt.