3: Crafted a Crown of Asters
3: Crafted a Crown of Asters
I spent a week holed up in the Ambrosia Manor in order to familiarize myself with my new living space. I had enjoyed the experience so much that I had forgotten that there was a world outside of the estate. That is, until two members of the Gardens Family came to visit me. One of the guests was Beatrice, the doctor who took care of me during my stay in the Courtyard palace. The other individual was a man who towered over me, who had the same impassive expression as Beatrice did. There seemed to be a trend within the family— they were either straight faced or constantly maintained a friendly facade.
“Good morning, Miss Alphaeus,” Beatrice’s shoulder length, hickory colored hair was pulled up into a ponytail, and she wasn’t donning the lab coat that she always had on. “The weather is pleasant today, so I thought it would be good for you to go out for a bit. I heard from Cheryl that you kept yourself inside for the whole week.”
“There’s just so much to see inside the mansion, I didn’t realize a whole week passed,” I responded sheepishly. “Um, who is this individual..?” I glanced over towards the man.
“Claude Bloodworth-Heisler, the head of the Bloodworth family,” the man introduced himself. His neutral blond hair was slicked back in a delicate manner to keep it out of his face. His eyes appeared as though they were crafted with larimar stones, resembling a clear blue sky.
The two of them held themselves with discipline— with their feet together, their backs straight, and their chin parallel to the floor. Beatrice didn’t have any visible weaponry on her, but she had a cute ferret wrapped around her neck, peacefully sleeping. Claude had a sword on his hip, just like Lancelot and Cordelia.
“Why do you use a sword?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“It is the weapon I am most comfortable with,” Claude answered indifferently. “I am trained to handle other weaponry as well.”
“Since the introductions are over, shall we head out?” Beatrice checked the time on her watch.
“Please have a safe trip,” Cheryl sent us off with a small bow.
I was taken to a quiet town named Livernois, which was full of Romanesque Revival architecture. Beatrice and Claude brought me to a small studio that was located in the downtown area. Claude walked up to the door and held it open for me and Beatrice, before leaning down slightly to enter the building himself. The entryway was just slightly too short for him. The scent of paint took me off guard. Rather than being a shop, it was a painter’s atelier.
“Cecilia,” Beatrice called out to someone in the empty room.
A door in the back opened abruptly, and a woman wearing a paint stained apron stepped out.
“I didn’t realize you’d be here so soon,” Cecilia removed her apron and hung it on the rack before walking over to us. “This must be Miss Krylo Alphaeus.”
“Yes. It’s nice to meet you,” I provided Cecilia with a friendly smile.
“How would you like me to call you?”
“Krylo is fine.”
“Then Krylo, it’s nice to meet you as well,” Cecilia held her hand out. I accepted the handshake. “My name is Cecilia Ferguson. I may be one of the branch family heads, but I’m just your normal artist, so please speak comfortably with me.”
“Ah...yes,” I nodded my head, but I couldn’t relax my tense shoulders.
“Do you have the item that Rosetta wished to give to Miss Alphaeus?” The manner Claude spoke in felt like he was interrogating someone.
“I wouldn’t leave that in the studio,” Cecilia rolled her eyes. “It’s at my house.”
“Um,” I caught the trio’s attention, “what is this item you’re talking about?”
Cecilia ripped out the hair tie that held her auburn hair together and responded, “Instead of telling you, why don’t we just head over to my place to retrieve it?”
Cecilia’s house was a Tudor style mansion tucked away in a forest just outside of the town. It had a comforting and cozy atmosphere, something vastly from the elegant and grand palace that belonged to Rosetta or the sanctified Ambrosia Manor. Claude’s black SVU looked out of place. Cecilia unlocked the gates to the house and let us in before shutting it.
“Elias and Vincent should be home, so you’ll be able to meet a couple of my siblings,” Cecilia informed everyone as we entered the house.
“It looks like fairies decorated the interior,” I was amazed by the magical air the interior gave off. Antique furniture, paintings, old portraits, and the constant presence of greenery filled the hall.
“We as a family are quite fond of fairies, so maybe that’s why it looks like they decorated the house,” Cecilia chuckled. “Let’s go to the living room, I’ll bring the gift to you.”
Cecilia took us to the living room, where I took a seat on the right side of the linen couch. Beatrice sat down on the right side, leaving a space between us, while Claude went to one of the cushioned chairs. Even when sitting, their posture remained impeccable.
“I’ll go grab the thing then,” Cecilia continued to walk down the hallway.
About ten minutes later, someone stepped in the living room, though it wasn’t Cecilia. Instead, it was a tall man with a friendly demeanor, holding a tray with a tea set along with cookies.
“Cecilia told me we had some guests, so I decided to make some refreshments,” the man explained as he set the tray down onto the wooden coffee table. When he faced me, he smiled softly, “My name is Vincent Ferguson, it’s nice to meet you.”
“T-thank you,” I stuttered, suddenly a bit flustered. “I’m Krylo..”
“I made some simple butter cookies decorated with edible flowers and some Earl grey tea; I hope it suits your taste. Enjoy your stay,” Vincent took his leave after he poured a cup of tea for the three of us.
The tea had a nice, gentle fragrance and the butter cookies fell apart in my mouth. It was strange to eat the flowers, but it wasn’t unpleasant. The pressure of sitting in the same room as Claude and Beatrice left me, and the tensions in my shoulders melted away.
“Sorry for the wait, Elias was using the crown as a reference,” Cecilia walked into the living room holding a wooden box. “He gets pretty upset if I take anything from him before he’s done with it, so I ended up having to wait.”
“Crown?” I perked up at the word. Cecilia took the seat in between me and Beatrice, setting the medium sized box in her lap before unlatching it open. What was contained in the box was a crown made of white, red, and pink aster flowers.
“This is what Rosetta wished to give you— it’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?” Cecilia carefully took the crown out and held it out for me to take.
“The flowers are real?!” I was surprised when I first touched the crown.
“That’s right. It’s been years since it was made, but it’s managed to not wither. Apparently, it’s because the person who made the crown had cast magic on it so that it would last for an eternity.”
“It sounds like it’s something that would be a national treasure..”
“It is,” Claude confirmed. I whipped my around to look at him.
“Then, should I really take this..?”
Cecilia smiled, “Rosetta said to give it to you, so you should accept it.”
I took the flower crown from Cecilia’s hands hesitantly. It felt too precious to accept, but my heart was filled with warmth as soon as I had it in my grasp.
“Is there a story behind this?” I asked, briefly remembering the story behind the Ambrosia Manor.
“Of course, would you like to hear it?”
I nodded my head. Cecilia took a deep breath and exhaled before she told the tale—.
In a small village, there was an engaged couple who was going to marry within the year. The man loved the woman dearly ever since they were young, and had courted her for over seven years. The woman’s parents had been hesitant in allowing their only daughter to marry him, as most of her suitors had only approached her for her beauty.
Eventually, they gave in, seeing their daughter’s affection for the man and the man’s devotion towards her. Their engagement was a celebratory moment within the village. Everyone cheered loudly when it had been announced.
The pair were happily married. Asters were the woman’s favorite flower, and he had always made a bouquet of them as an anniversary gift for her. For their fifth anniversary, the man decided to do something special. He sought out his older sister, who happened to be a florist.
“Please teach me how to make a flower crown,” he requested. His older sister had been the one to make his wife’s flower crown for their wedding— and he couldn’t forget how the crown had enhanced the beauty of his wife on that day.
It took him a whole week to perfect flower crown making— he didn’t realize how hard it actually was. Despite that, he continued on practicing until he was satisfied with the result.
For their fifth anniversary, the man handed the flower crown to his wife with a bright smile that could challenge the sun itself.
He told his wife that he had casted a spell that would make the flowers last forever, as a symbol of his devotion. The wife laughed, but she gleefully accepted the flower crown, putting it on immediately. She looked exactly the same as she did on their wedding day in his eyes.
As expected, the flower crown ended up withering, but their love did not.
A war broke out roughly ten years into their marriage, and eventually, he was forced to join the battlefield. The man knew there was a higher possibility that he wouldn’t be returning home to his wife and three children, but he kept smiling for them until he had to leave. Just before the man left, he crafted another flower crown made of white, red, and pink asters, and gave it to his lovely wife.
“This time, I put two spells on this flower crown. One, so that it will last forever to show my devotion for you. Two, so that you and our children will be protected for the rest of your lives.”
The man placed the crown on his wife’s head, with a reassuring smile plastered on his face. The woman couldn’t hold back the tears, and embraced him until they were forced to part.
The man died at war, but the village his family lived in was safe. The flower crown he had given to his wife before his departure remained the same, even after years had passed. It was as if he had casted those two spells in exchange for his life.
The crown, which the woman kept safe until the day she passed herself, continued to be passed on as an heirloom of sorts, it’s flowers as fresh and beautiful as they had been when the man crafted the crown.
Eventually, the crown reached the hands of the Apostle, who kept it safe in a wooden box.
The Crown of Asters was a symbol of the man’s everlasting devotion to his wife. The object in my hands felt heavier and warmer than it had before I heard the story behind it. Tears began to blur my vision.
“I will keep it safe,” I promised in a hoarse whisper. I felt a hand touch my shoulder.
Cecilia spoke in a reassuring tone, “I’m sure they would appreciate that, Krylo.”
I left the Ferguson family’s mansion after meeting Elias, one of Cecilia’s brothers. He handed me another box, one that was rather long, saying that I should probably have something to match with the flower crown. It was a backless, white dress made with chiffon, lace, and had silk thread embroidery. I tried to refuse the gift, but Elias refused to let me go until I had accepted it.
It felt like a waste on me, but the man thought otherwise.
“I created that dress with a model like you in mind, so it’s not a waste on you,” Elias scoffed.
“It’s not often that Elias gives out free dresses, so why don’t you accept it, Krylo?” Cecilia suggested, more or less. I took the dress in the end, not wanting to keep Beatrice and Claude waiting.
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