The Princess of Flowers: Part One
PART ONE: PROLOGUE
Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom far, far away, lived a princess. The royal Kyrii was tall, elegant and was adored by both of her parents: the Rose King and Rose Queen of Floritua. The kingdom was located between Faerieland and Brightvale and its inhabitants were rumoured to exhibit magical powers–though this claim could never be proven.
Floritua was a land flourished with different kinds of flowers; every single species of flower known to Neopia grew in its vast fields, mountains and meadows. The princess enjoyed strolling through the royal gardens and admiring the various flower bushes, all differently shaped and coloured. The kingdom also had a powerful treasure: the thousands of white miracle flowers that grew around the royal palace. The flowers were especially important because they kept the balance of Neopia upon their curled, delicate petals. If a single flower wilted, the other flowers would wilt and Neopia would crumple. If Neopia crumpled, Floritua would have failed its purpose as it’s keeper of balance.
“It’s important for us to keep the miracle flowers at full bloom,” the Rose Queen would say. “If naught but a single petal of a single miracle flower is wilted, then the kingdom would suffer great consequences.” The faerie Kyrii would shake her head and add, “Only we can take care of these delicate creatures. Fussy, yes, but a good royal must make due with their responsibilities to please both their subjects and themselves.” She would then eye the princess and say in her firmest tone, “The powers we are blessed with must always be used to protect the flowers. And they MUST be hidden from everyone beyond the palace walls.”
The princess knew her mother was serious, so she tried her hardest to keep her powers private. She also knew they would not assist her in any way as she went about doing her daily tasks: drink tea, practice the piano, practice the violin, nap, read a few books, write a few poems, read a few poems, try on a dress, practice the harp, practice her table manners, practice her curtsying, sketching, drawing, painting, painting her drawing, and roaming the empty halls of the royal palace…or “home” as she would often call the place. The occasional servant would rush by, but no one would stop to chat. More than anything the princess wanted somebody to talk to, though this yearning would only last temporarily.
She was used to being alone. She was used to being quiet.
“Tis the manners of a lady,” her mother would say.
Her father would agree. “Indeed,” chimed in the Royal Kyrii.
The princess knew Floritua held several secrets, and it was mainly because the kingdom was kept a secret from the rest of Neopia. For reasons that she did not know or care to learn of, Floritua was a secret place that no outsiders of the land had ever seen before, much less heard of. Rather than caring for what she though of as “boring dribble”, the princess would spend her time reading about the other faraway lands of Neopia. She especially adored the illustrated traveling guides and yearned to explore the freezing tundra of the Terror Mountain, the lush greenery of Faerieland and the exquisite libraries of Brightvale. She refused to visit the Lost Desert, however, because the harsh humidity would frizz her soft, aqua hair. Even thinking of the desert heat made the princess stroke her long hair until its soft texture relaxed her nerves.
Despite how it pained her so, there was something the princess hated to express to others. Although she was of royal birth, of royal blood and of royal status, there was still something she believed was still lacking: beauty. Try hard as she could, the princess couldn’t get over the fact that she lacked beauty and that she was the only royal in all of Neopia with such a serious problem. Her parents tried their hardest to convince her she was beautiful, and yet they were never able to change her perception.
“I’m ugly,” the princess would sprout.
“You are perfectly fine,” her father would say.
“All you need is self-confidence,” her mother would say.
Whenever her parents gave her such pointless assurances, the princess would always find solace in the royal gardens. Strolling through the paths and admiring the roses was her most favourite activity to do out-of-doors, and it was the only thing she’d do under the beaming sun. Surrounding herself with the elegant flowers felt reassuring to the princess, yet there was always the slightest wince that further dug in her insecurities. Not even the flowers could relieve her of what pained her the most: not being worthy enough to possess the beauty a Neopian princess must have naturally. And there was nothing anybody could say to make her feel or think otherwise…at least, that was what was initially perceived…
On one faithful day, the princess was strolling down the rose paths. Despite the rain pouring heavily from above, she was happily content with admiring the yellow roses underneath her umbrella and stepping carefully atop the rose shaped stepping tiles. It wasn’t until she approached the end of the path, however, that she saw a mysterious stranger observing a rose bush. His gaze was downcast, yet the princess couldn’t shake off the feeling that he was looking at her while also focusing on the roses. Although she was nervous, she couldn’t help approach the possible intruder, being careful not to step in any puddles.
The blue Ixi was tall and had shaggy blue hair that almost covered his dark eyes. Although he was in the pouring rain, the stranger wasn’t holding an umbrella, and his white high collar shirt and pants were soaked. He looked up at the princess and remarked, “I see I’m not the only one out here in the downpour.”
“I don’t mind,” said the princess, staring steadily at the stranger. Who was he, and why was he so dressed up? “What are you doing here?” she pressed curiously.
“The roses are coming along nicely,” the Ixi remarked softly.
“What are you doing here?” pressed the princess, a bit more impatiently.
“So beautiful.” The Ixi held a blue rose in his white gloved hand. “Just so beautiful.”
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” The princess had stamped her foot and glowered at the mysterious stranger.
The Ixi looked up and smirked. “Oh, it’s only you.”
The princess stiffened. “Must I ask a third time what you’re doing here?”
“I was only admiring the exquisite blue roses of the royal garden,” the Ixi explained. “Very few places in Neopia can cultivate such beautiful flowers.”
The princess nodded. Her suspicions about the stranger were high, regardless of his regal appeal. Was he the rumoured Ixi thief rumoured to have saved Faerieland from the clutches of Xandra? Could he be a folk hero, a royal prince from a faraway land, or a crook? Regardless of who he was and how finely dressed he was, he was still a dunce to not have an umbrella at hand. Still, there was something about him that intrigued her…yet she didn’t know why.
“Have you not brought an umbrella with you?” she asked. “Or are you a fool willing to catch a cold?”
The stranger scoffed. “The only fool here is one who treasures vanity over the prosperity of other living things.” He gave the princess a somewhat sympathetic look. “I pity you, princess.”
“How...how DARE you!” the princess sputtered. “Why would you say such a horrible thing to your princess?”
“You were never 'my' princess,” the stranger insisted, “and I’m afraid you will never be.”
The princess gripped her umbrella tighter. “So you’re not a citizen of Floritua, are you?” she demanded. “If that’s the case, then you are forbidden from even stepping on our soil! I must call upon the Rose Guards to immediately take you away!”
The stranger lingered for a few more minutes. He didn’t seem fazed by the princess’s threats, nor was he frightened by her scowl. Instead, all he did was cough lightly and ask, “Do you realize that what you strive for the most is also the most pointless?”
“Wh-What do you mean?” stammered the princess.
“You desire something you believe you lack,” the stranger explained. He examined the blue rose in his hand. “Just because it’s unattainable to you, you believe that no one else in Neopia is capable of achieving it and it’s actually a fruitless endeavour. Yet despite your resistance, you still have the persistence to achieve your goal, even if it means discerning everybody around you.”
“And what your saying…is?” The princess was utterly confused.
The stranger said in a blunt tone, “Your efforts to attain true beauty are futile. For you have never been beautiful and you’ll never be.” With a slight nod, he turned and strolled casually down the path, eventually disappearing in the mist.
Now the princess was speechless. Who was this horrid prick? What did he mean when he insisted her pursuit was fruitless? And how, and why, was he in the rose section of the royal gardens in the pouring rain? Immediately the princess speculated he may have been waiting for her, or had known beforehand she was heading this way. Whoever this soulless stranger was, he didn’t acknowledge her as “his princess”, which in turn opened even more questions. Was he really a citizen of Floritua? Was he a foreign invader? Could he really be the infamous Ixi thief of Neopian folklore?
Not wanting to dwell in such a confusing and possibly-frivolous turn of events, the princess decided to tread back to the palace, taking extra precaution to step around the puddles. The words Mr. Brute had spoken were still burning inside her, and she wanted desperately to rid the memory of his encounter. To her, his presence was the worst thing to have happened to her yet and she vowed to refuse anybody else to cause her the same inner-turmoil. She also refused to tell her parents, as she didn’t care to hear their pointless squabbles.
“He may have a point here,” her father would say.
“Indeed,” her mother would say. “Such a shame, it is.”
Not wanting to further embarrass herself, the princess decided to keep the encounter a secret–painful, yes, yet still something to keep private. For she knew that, despite her parents’ yearning to fully understand the situation, they would never be able to fully understand the situation. And it would be ever-so-swell if the discussion had never happened or was never spoken of again.
It would also be an easy secret, as the princess was confident that neither she nor the brute will ever meet again and have another useless conversation.
She’ll make sure of it.
To be continued…