One Bouquet, One Forager | Teen Ink

One Bouquet, One Forager

July 23, 2022
By talesbyflora, Wonju, Other
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talesbyflora, Wonju, Other
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Author's note:

With a passion for inspiring and colorful adventure stories with diverse heroes and characters, I am motivated to create inclusive and exciting stories for young readers to bring their wild imaginations to life! It is sincerely important to me that my stories are inspiring and diverse, encouraging young but non-exclusive, readers to be accepting and compassionate with all of the encounters they will experience in life through my illustrations and tales.

The author's comments:

One Bouquet, One Forager is a short children's story.

As time marched forward, the ticking petals sought no mercy as a young forager fended off three buzzing bumblebees, the sharp “clinks!” of the rusty sword, and the needle-sharp stingers bouncing off the twisting trunks. These were certainly no normal bumblebees; they were twice the size of the young girl with soft fuzz covering their bodies, one would confuse these monsters as cuddly dolls if it weren’t for their blazing stingers! “Back! Keep your tricky hands off my flower!” demanded the girl as she held onto a small flower for dear life, grasping flush against her chest.

Ah, that flower- long and plush with dripping colors of deep blues like the late-night sky, the Larkspur. As the bewitching forager dug into her pockets and threw puffs of petal dust straight into the beady eyes of the bees, blinding all three, she made a straight bolt past a huge rata tree, but to her misfortune, the largest, the most taunting bumblebee grabbed her wrists- Oh! I close my eyes as I am afraid of what I might witness! “Oh dear, oh dear!- I must go gather help!” I urgently clacked as I took flight in the opposite direction, towards the impressive tree with winding trunks and branches, resembling welcoming arms in the setting sky.-

 This young girl went by the name Zinnia, representative of the flower that brought her first breath. She speaks rather rashly in contrast to her ancestors as I‘ve seen many of her encounters divert their attention elsewhere or fear to even look at her, or maybe it was irritation, it’s hard to tell, really. Although her initial impressions are frowned upon, she truly has a heart of gold. Heck, all of her countless interactions were with tradesmen, experienced travelers, and shopkeepers all for a single girl. I’ve surely never seen such a direct young girl before, that’s for certain, and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of her kind, favorable and not. The lack of social awareness paints a clear picture of her preferences for socializing. This girl that seemingly lives in her head and heart must be as sweet as lilac!  

“I was talking to you, you wilting Clematis! Where did you see Larkspurs on your last trip, hm?” Zinnia spat as she ran after the, well, wilting clematis, reaching for the bag of sad coins that belonged to Zinnia. “You disagreeable child! Clearly, you forgot what I said a second ago. Your loss!” blurted the clematis-kind pixie, and she attempted to flutter away. What was she thinking, a clematis? Well, their kind is known to be witty, clever, and pretty liars. “Oh, dear! Oh dear, oh, dear!” I squawked as Zinnia unshielded her vine-laced sword, pointing it right across one of the Clematis’ vibrant yet tired petals, “You really only have two options. Either you give me my coins back or follow through with our deal and tell me where you saw Larkspurs!” said Zinnia, rather calmly which is unusual, she must be really angry. 

“The North! It’s at the North!” cried the Clematis, trembling as bits of pollen sprinkled out. Smiling rather coyly, Zinnia retreated her sword back into its case, “Thank you for your business.” she said,  confidently bowing and headed towards Delphine’s home with no time to waste as she hastily grabbed her rusting hand clock covered in leaves out of her clearly disorganized bag, “Oh no…” she anxiously breathed out, her pace evidently going faster. As I flew past Townsquare the generous clock held together with vines and two twisting trunks read 20 petals. “My goodness, she best hurries up!” I pondered as I raced her up the lush hill, atop was a Vermillion waxcap that was rather large in size, carved at the front were two friendly windows and one arched door.  

As I anxiously plopped myself on top of the tinkered mailbox for Zinnia to show where the sky and flora meet, small sounds of “sizzzzle” with pots and pans being gently graced on the bouncy counter could be heard. As if on cue, Zinnia, panting like a mad man, came into view as the silhouette of her body can be seen getting larger at an indescribable pace, the pounds of her boots ringing louder in my ear. “Whoosh!” flew open the door as Zinnia nearly tripped while the whole fungus trembled. “Zinny! Are you alright, I’ve been waiting for you!” said the sweetest voice. “Delphine! I mustn’t waste time, you- why are you cooking? You shouldn’t be overworking your body! Please sit down and listen to what I must say.” exclaimed another sweet voice? Did I miss another person going into the home or is this Zinnia talking? My goodness, this girl! As I peeked through one of the round windows, it really was Zinnia talking, her voice remaining smooth and gentle, just for Delphine. 

  “My dearest Delphine, my encounters have stalled my progress immensely, and now, I lost the time to spend with you.” breathed out Zinnia. “I was told the Larkspur is found up North, but truly, eight petals is not enough time for me to make it there on foot.” Delphine looked concerned, her intuition must know exactly what was coming. Before she could say anything, Zinnia quickly followed with, “Please don’t decline my offer of love. I shall offer two of my petals to the wise tree for my trip there and back.” Two petals? Oh dear, this isn’t good. This isn’t good at all! With no time to process, I flew through the welcoming windows with the wind knowingly blowing me in, too. 

Both looking the same with confusion painted over their faces, I suddenly felt frozen. “Ahem! E-excuse me for my rude interruption. I go by Tui the Bird and I was called by a spirit that you two may need my assistance! S-so, what shall it be?” I can hear my heart thumping, why did I lie? Yes, I definitely didn’t stalk and eavesdrop at all! I mentally pecked myself, but a voice interrupted me, the one I became familiar with earlier in the day. “Did someone send you here? Who told you about this place?” hastily spoke Zinnia holding Delphine behind her.

“Oh no, no, I swear! I’m just a ball of feathers that happened to come here at the right time, is all! I-my spirit told me you needed assistance with travel, was it?” As Zinnia’s face grew softer, Delphine pushed her way forward, sending Zinnia tumbling to the side, “Tui the Bird! You must help Zinny get to the North before dawn! We are losing petals fast!” begged Delphine as she kneeled in front of me. 

Even though I lied about my initial confrontations, I, too, had friends alike who would help, they do owe me after all. And, this girl Zinnia, her unfaltering love for Delphine must’ve tainted onto me as the girl kneeling before me holds such love and affection in her eyes, clouded with worry. Without a word, I flew towards the window and called as loud as I could. I turn around to see Zinnia and Delphine plugging their ears with hesitant smiles.

“Well then, we only have seven petals left! My acquaintances are much stronger than I am, with all of us combined, we could easily fly you up North under a petal.” I assured as I heard my friends calling back. “They’re close! Zinnia, we must leave at once! Delphine, do not worry, we never break our promises.” I said surprisingly confidently.

“I shall pay you back with seeds and fruits, all of you and your friends! Please make it back safely!” Delphine clapped as she pat my head. Zinnia was already packed and hugging Delphine, “I will make it back with your flower I promise.” and with that, we rushed out the door.

Perfectly on time. I decided to lead while my friends lifted Zinnia with ease. “You guys always have my back, thank you!” I sang as we were running with the wind towards the North. “Not an issue, however, we drop you off then we leave unless you have another deal to strike.” mischievously croaked the Tui I considered a pal. Before having the chance to plead, Zinnia interrupted, “Look! Up ahead past the hives lay a selective row of Larsparks glistening! Finally!” Within a short distance, we were right above our destination as my so-called friends tauntingly squawked, “See ya guys on the flip side! Gah ha!” as they abruptly dropped Zinnia right on top of a beehive. Instinctively, I dove straight down to nudge Zinnia away from destroying the beehive. “Thump!” landed Zinnia, safely. I brought my feathers towards my beak to wipe the trickles of honey. -Wait, trickles of honey? Zinnia’s eyes were fixated on what was behind me. The stinging sound of buzzes was deterring my vision.

“Lookz at what’s you’ve donez!” rang the fuming bumblebees towering over my frame. Preparing myself for what the obvious laid in my near-future, Zinnia threw my body off the ground and into an overgrown part of the hill, concealing me, as she darted towards the Larkspur. I quickly gained consciousness and sprung myself up towards the quickly darkening sky towards a long branch, giving a theater view of the ruckus.

-five petals left…  I repeated to myself as I flew towards the tree. “Hang in there Zinnia!” I cried as I went to the highest peak of the tree. Right in the middle, laid an old turtle with the shell of crystallized flowers, foreign to our world. “Wise Floret. I apologize for my rash introduction, but my friend is in grave danger. We must get home before dawn but my thin wings and frail legs won’t do. I shall pay you back generously! I-I can deliver flowers and messages for you til’ the day I pass! I-” pausing my rambling, wise Floret unfurled herself and reached towards my trembling beak, latching on a small leaf encompassing what I believe are the petals I’ve been praying for. “Take this. You know what to do.” and with that, she curled herself back into her enchanting shell. 

Wasting no time, I rush back as I see Zinnia fending off two bumblebees, one laying by the base of a tree trunk. As I flew closer, Zinnia yelped “Where did you go! Please tell me you brought actual reliable friends this time!” As she proceeded to lecture me, she grabbed her last handful of petal dust and lurched it forward, combining it with her breaking sword, creating one strong, and last blow to stall their attacks. As I quickly unfurled the leaf, I handed her a glowing petal, looking tranced by the beauty of what lay in front of her. “You know what this is! Picture Delphine’s home and eat it!” Without hesitation, we both place the delicacy on our tongues, and within a single heartbeat and a piercing ‘flash!’, we’re home. 

“Woah! Zinny? Tui the Bird? I’m so glad you guys are saf-” fitting of her own fashion, Zinnia interrupted Delphine and unraveled the beauty within her two palms. “The Larkspur… you got it! There’s a single petal left before dawn, let’s hurry!” Knowingly, Zinnia placed the Larkspur in the empty shell on Delphine’s crown, looking the calmest I’ve ever seen her. The flower fit into each curve and twist perfectly. As the last petal dispersed from the clock, what would once turn to ashes was glowing, creating luminescent shadows on the curvatures and forming a breathtaking ambiance, with no words needed, Zinnia looked as if all the problems in the world fluttered away, and I must say, the view of the intoxicating warmth of their embrace is more than enough the bring me joy, a peaceful night waiting ahead for us all. 

The End

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