Price to Pay

I offered the revitalized crown to her, but she didn’t move. “Alexandra?”

She blinked, taking a step back. “Zinnia, I forgot I have a meeting with the advisors this morning.”

I bowed my head, setting the crown on her dresser as I left the room without a word. I shut the door behind me and entered my room, locking the door.

I drew the curtains closed and tore the bandages away from my wounds. I dropped to my knees, folded my hands, and hummed the whispered song of the first breeze of spring. As my voice bloomed and reached, my wounds closed. I opened my eyes as the last breath of light faded away. I traced the skin where the gashes had been, and my eyes fell upon shrinking scars as they disappeared from view.

I drew an infinity symbol over my heart and another on my right hand before standing. I made my way out to the barren garden, gazing out at the discolored earth. Taking my axe in hand, I smiled as I chopped another lifeless tree to the ground. I wandered to an from the workroom and the garden, clearing the last of the clawing corpses from the shell of a garden that’d once flourished. As the hours passed, I planted the seeds I’d purchased from the market on my second day, spreading them and the compost across the garden. I wandered to the middle of the garden, drawing an infinity symbol in the dirt. I stood with one foot in each ring and held out my hands.

“Please let this work.”

I started off in a low hum, rumbling in the pit of my stomach as I watched a pale light blossom from my hands. I worked from the depths of dark clouds with rolling thunder into the songs of the first rainfall. Green threads reached from my fingertips and crawled to every corner of the garden, breathing life into the barren land. Golden threads rooted me to the ground as they traced the infinity symbol at my feet and worked their outwards, bringing the stone paths up from their half-buried and broken graves to rest in the ground and guide visitors.

As I continued my song, stems rose up from the ground, sprouting leaves and buds that bloomed in the blink of an eye. A rainbow of flowers of all kinds reached its way across the garden as they blossomed. Herbs created a border around the outer edge, filling the air with the aroma of peppermint.

My lips turned up at the sight of the first blades of grass filling the gaps between the stone pathways, and I watched it grow to replace the barren ground. The Hawthorn trees grew and sprouted leaves as I dropped to my knees. My voice cracked, but I kept the song going. The green and gold threads wrapped themselves around the trunks of the trees, tracing the branches that grew, sprouting white flowers. When the first white petal fell, the threads faded away, and I collapsed on all fours, dripping sweat. My limbs gave out, and I fell onto the stone steps that led out of the sunken ground.

I crawled up the steps and used my last bit of energy to hide the key to the fortress, wiping the infinity symbol away. “It was worth it.”

I let my arm drop to the cold stone, and the whole world faded to black.


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