(( Normally, something like this would have phased the Treant. If anything, he told himself that he didn't need to care about what others thought. Or said. Or judged him about. All he wanted was to return to his own life. His old ways. To go back to the way that Nature intended for him to be, and leave it at that. And yet... when that summoner-- no more than a novice at that, had confronted the Treant with what he did... it made him think.
"You do nothing more than throw children into the frontlines of war. Do you realize that?"
Maokai stared at the sapling that was currently perched on his shoulder. The innocent little thing was playing with a small flower that it had picked, twirling it and watching as a pattern of yellows and whites swirled before it. But that was the key word: innocent. It didn't know much more than what little life it had experienced up to this point. And that innocence-- was it just a ruse? After all, the little sapling turned from innocent child to explosive kamikaze bomber in an instant on the Fields of Justice. All it took was one thought from the treant, and that naivete would be thrown aside, and their only goal was to latch onto the closest enemy, and explode in a brilliant array of magic, roots, and leaves.
Still, it peturbed him. Was it right to throw such young life away? After all, the saplings were made from the blood of a child.
Well, the image of a child. Did that even make them real?
The sapling turned to look up at the Treant, and then let out a giddy sound, planting the flower in one of the Treant's twisted boughs. He grunted. To worry about something as unimportant as vanity... and yet it made something within the old branches swell. It was like the sapling could read his mind-- even though both lives were linked, they were still individual.
And yet, he never had a sapling turn on him before. He never had one refuse the command. They were, at least up to this point, not only obedient, but willing.
"That doesn't make it right." He could hear the summoner say in his mind. A growl shook through his bark, and the sapling on his shoulder trembled. He could sense the sudden fear and uneasiness from it, reaching up and stroking it to calm it down. Agitated saplings were as dangerous as ones on the Fields, and prone to sudden explosions.
It was much like a child. An agitated child would have mood swings, and could potentially lash out at those nearest to them. It wasn't like they knew any better.
He stared at the sapling again. The fact that he was comparing subservient, unnatural life to something that happened every day bothered him. Could that possibly mean that he was beginning to accept this existence as...
No. He couldn't. His resolve grew. Just like him, the saplings were nothing more than an after-effect of what happened when magics tainted life it should have left alone.
And yet, as the tree lumbered on through the Treeline, he brought the sapling down from his shoulder into the crook of his elbow, and cradled it almost protectively.
After all, if he was responsible for throwing their lives away, he could at least take responsibility for protecting them until their time came. ))