Years of studying Botany finally paid off. Mother always said that it was a useless Major, and that I should be studying “Western Medicine” and not Apothecary of sorts. Chance, that it was my love of fantasy worlds that drew me to the unknown. And maybe my open-mind led me to discoveries that others could not fathom, plants that myths and legends speak of. However, fame had come with a price, my undying commitment to the hunt for the Flora of Legend.
Mind you, the other scholars would poke fun at my attempts of convincing them that their scope of research was far too limited. There were so many plants that have been lost in ancient text and forgotten in the minds of those who claim to preserve the craft. Still, I perused every lead, every shred of information in order to discover the flowers of fable, and still, I went further in testing their properties. Poisons. Healing properties. Limb regrowth. This were the moments that I believed the stories labeled “Fiction” in the libraries.
There was one plant, however, that eluded me. In time, I would make it my life’s work to obtain a sample of it’s petals and nectar. Known to the common-folk as Blossom of the Gods, ancient scrolls tell of the most beautiful flower that, when ingested, bestows immortality but at a price. However, nothing that I am able to find indicates what exactly that adverse effect is or entails for those who have discovered and eaten this rare plant have not scrawled a single note about even the taste.
Locating this unspeakably rare flower has proven understandably difficult. Given what information I have, clues to the singular location where it grows. Whispers tell me to find a divergence of trees in the Amazon Rainforest after allowing yourself to become lost within its immensity and, only then, will Blossom of Gods can be found. After a simple drop of blood is placed upon a leaf, the flower will bloom. This is all of the information I am able to find.
So I am here, traveling through the thicket and broken stumps alone. Of course I’m afraid. What if I die here? More than likely, there are predators just beyond my vision, hid away in the green blur, waiting to pounce. Lost?Hours must have passed by now. What have I gotten myself into? Maybe Mom was right…
Alas! No, it can’t be. Have I found it? Something shifts in the air as I step into the mossy clearing. No doubt this is holy ground. A raised platform centered in the space between the trees. I cannot even hear birds chirping anymore. Rising with each step, I begin to make out the leaf in which I must shed blood. My heart is racing as I approach the glowing plant and raise my hand directly over it. With a click of my pocket knife, I press the blade against my palm, piercing the skin just enough to drip the crimson liquid onto the leaf.
Suddenly, it draws itself into the ground. I wait. For a moment, it seems like nothing is going to happen, until an indescribable petrichor fills my nostrils. All my mind can grasp is euphoria as a glittering orchid-like flower rises from the ground. Without a second to dwell on the implications, here sits my life work, I tear a petal from the flower and it descends underneath. Immortality at a price. What is the price I will pay for this? Perhaps it is watching my loved ones pass from this world onto another. Steep yet fitting price. No guess I could have materialized could prepare me for the senses that the forsaken Blossom took from me.
Days later I woke up in the hospital. I could hear them talking around me, yet, as I tried to open my eyes, there was just blackness. I screamed and the nurses were forced to restrain me. When my mother came in, I could hear her sobbing and she pressed a fresh loaf of bread at me. But, the only reason I knew it was bread was the warmth and texture.
I only now understand what price the Blossom of the Gods had taken from me in exchange for endless life. First, my sight, for not appreciating the beauty and seeking more than what I deserved. Second, my sense of smell, something I had taken for granted while working as a Botanist. No longer can I resume my career. Instead, I returned to the place where the flower bloomed for me to find all those scholars from times past awaiting me. I felt their presence and they told me what I must do now.
Protect it. The flower chose me as it does not give it’s blessing to all those who come across it.