On Orchid Hill

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tři: šeřík

𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑒: 𝑙𝑖𝑙𝑎𝑐

Now that she is older, Chrysanthemum is not as wild. Her ferociousness has not died down, instead, it lurks and breathes and hides. It ripples underneath her skin, breaking free on the days where the weather is perfect and the orchid flowers are in bloom.

Now, she dreams of exploring the world, of digging out its ancient secrets from the earth. She dreams of discovering a new fruit or a flower or a plant and naming it after her sister, who curls farther and farther into her room.

Chrysanthemum joins her father on his daily journey into town one day. They walk, hand in hand, passing houses and fields and cows and horses. Gerbera had gotten sick, and her mother opted that she would stay behind. The journey is long, exciting, and not all that difficult. She wishes that she could make journeys like this all time, skipping over rocks and cupping the pond between her small adolescent hands.

They reach town around noon.

Her father waves at various shopkeepers, stopping every so often to chat someone up, or to make a sale. Chrysanthemum watches with rapt attention. After all, this will be her job someday. That makes her happy, her chest swelling up with pride.

They walk into the pharmacy and Chrysanthemum feels her heart drop to the bottom of her chest. Before her is the most beautiful girl she's ever seen. She walks around the small medical shop with an air of grace lacking even in her own mother. Her hair is blond, soft in both hue and texture, swinging down her back in a long braid, a thick blue ribbon weaves in between the strands of honeyed sunlight. Her eyes are brown, dark like the dirt wedged between her toes in summer.

Her father places a hand on her back, gently pushing her forwards. She gives him a concerned look in return, worried and scared. Winking, he gestures to the girl again before pushing her once more. Chrysanthemum stumbles, grabbing onto the counter and hanging on for dear life. She manages to get through an introduction well enough, stammering only on the complicated syllables of her name.

When they arrive back home, Chrysanthemum does not rush to tell her sister about the beautiful girl in the market town. Selfishly, she hangs onto the remaining pieces of her heart.

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