This was a most unexpected setback. To have gone from a trusted confidante to a bitterly despised outsider in just an instant was almost unheard of within the realm of ethnography (there is, of course, the work of Rashim “Insulty” Smith-Smythe, but the less said about deviant rogue ethnographers of the late 21st century, the better.) As unheard of as it was, there were still theories and suggestions on how to deal with such a sudden turnaround. I stood in silence for a moment, reflecting on my training and my education, and then I employed the technique I thought most likely to work.
“Oh, come on!” I said, drawing out the vowels and increasing the pitch of my voice to a range usually reserved for calling to domesticated animals. “Why are you being so mean?”
The method had the intended effect. The priestess’s face contorted in a mixture of annoyance and disgust, and I knew it was only a matter of moments before she caved and resumed the tour, like an exhausted mother’s willpower crumbling in the face of a screaming child.
“You are not ready,” she repeated. “You are not worthy.”
“How could I possibly not be ready or worthy? I’ve been a part of your stu… Of your church for more than year! I know more about your faith than anyone but you and the other priests! Why can’t I learn the last secrets? I want to! I want to, I want to, I–”
The priestess’s expression turned to one of neutrality. There was a focus in here eyes, as if she was hearing a distant voice trying to speak to her.
She slapped me across the face. Hard. She was frowning now, the smug smile from before gone. “The second wisdom,” she said through gritted teeth, “Is that no mortal ever gets what they want. Not in this universe and not in any others.”