Chapter 21 – Blooming flowers
In the Hall of the Second Temple, eleven of the sacred sprouts were lined together so that they could deal with the ‘something’ from the bloomed flowers. There are guards present, but so far there’s no candidate with a strange blossomed flower, they’re all just ordinary yet lovely flowers.
The sprouts in their pots were growing differently. Sadly, only Liz’s, whose plant is larger than the others, had not yet bloomed a flower, the only thing outstanding with hers is the size. She couldn’t find any bud.
‘What should I do?’
Only the thick green leaves grew when the seed was planted. Liz impatiently looked at the tree. If it keeps on staying like this, she’ll soon be eliminated among the candidates. She won’t be able to properly face Claire, the descendant of the Howard family, since she had believed that Liz would be the saint.
From behind Liz, who was trying to clear out the cloud in her heart, she heard the conversation between Grace and Natalie.
“You’re right Grace! These beautiful crimson flowers can’t be bloomed by other candidates!”
“Thank you, Natalie. Your flowers look simple yet cute.”
“Oh! I’m honored!” Natalie’s glad that Grace is in a good mood, her cheeks went red as she exclaimed.
Grace, too, her plant were the ones that slowly grew flowers, but now, in a small yet gorgeous pot are fully bloomed beautiful orbs of crimson flowers.
There was a mixture of chagrin and envy, Liz bit her lips, her frustration and impatience were starting to show.
“What’s that?” Natalie voiced out, astonished. There was a small, dainty flower with fine petals overlapping each other similar to a frill and that flower certainly belonged to the court magician’s daughter. The flowers were pitch black, it dazzled Liz, she couldn’t help but look at it.
“Wow! This is my first time seeing black flowers! I’ve never seen such flower before!”
“Right. As the priest mentioned, the flower that is similar and suitable for the person would bloom.” Nodding with a knowing expression, Grace stared at the court magician’s daughter at a distance.
“Oh Liz!— Liz’s flower hasn’t bloomed yet!?” Natalie’s round eyes became wide, her loud voice contained pure surprise and astonishment.
Liz heard Natalie, Grace as well heard her and noticed her plant. For a moment her brow scrunched up and she frowned, but immediately smiled as usual, “No, Natalie, you’d be rude to Liz if you say that.”
“Eh? No, I meant—!”
“I’m surprised too. Liz’s sprout is by far the largest among us so I thought that hers would first bloom a flower. But what can be seen is the result, just as the chief priest said, ‘the flower would bloom that is suitable and similar to you’. Grace continued with a gentle tone, her black eyes shone with pleasure. She’s really happy that Liz’s flowers didn’t bloom.
“….!” Liz faced down, her hands clenched. Pity and regret rose from the bottom of her heart. She felt frustrated and a fool, of course she isn’t the best.
‘I hate it. I don’t want to end it like this. I don’t want to give up being a candidate.’ A strong feeling came from deep within her, she was even surprised.
“—not yet,” With her hands clasped together, Liz looked at Grace straight to her eyes, “you don’t know that yet, I still haven’t given up. I’m here to be the next saint.” her voice held determination, through her expression, her intention can be seen.
Her red eyes glowed intensely.
Grace gasped. Liz looked akin to a god, even the noble Grace couldn’t look away.
Then, “Hey, look!” Natalie cried out. Liz’s sacred plant suddenly sprouted a huge bud at the end of its branches. It had a solid build yet it kept on growing soft and bigger. It was as if it’s magic. It seemed like it would explode on Grace’s face. A plant shouldn’t rapidly grow and yet it is visible in front of them.
“Wow!” Its soft, fluffy-looking buds slowly open. Its petals are white, whiter than Liz’s hair. Its five petals were the size of a palm, when it all opened at once, it was a fantastic sight, as if it was out of this world.
Everyone was so shocked that they couldn’t speak. Grace, her eyes wide, openly stared at Liz’s flowers.
There’s a faint sweet aroma. The sacred flower bloomed with dignity, its white color was pure that it seemed like it couldn’t be stained by any color dye.
“Beautiful…” Natalie gave out a small gasp, she was breathlessly staring at the flower, she herself wasn’t even aware of her voice slipping out but it was an honest compliment.
Next to her, Grace was glaring at the flowers with a stiff expression.
“Congratulations! At last, the flowers have bloomed,” Priest Lloyd says to Liz.
“How long have you been here, Lloyd?”
“I’ve been here for quite a while.” he answered Liz then looked at Grace, giving her a small smile. He laughed, “You were right, a flower will bloom that’s suitable for that person.”
For a moment, Grace’s eyes flashed before she walked out of the hall. The light in her eyes was strong, it was as if she could kill him with her glare. Natalie hurriedly followed after Grace.
Lloyd laughed at Liz, “Perhaps the flower felt your determination of becoming a saint.”
“I see —that flower, is it worthy of me?”
“Yes, I believe so.” Liz expected that he would say something unexpected and frank, “the way how it bloomed, it was truly unpredictable, unusual, twisted, is it not?”
‘As I thought..’
Lloyd laughed again at the scowling Liz, “It’s good…It’s a beautiful flower.”
The sacred plant responded to her, its flower bloomed, the leaves seemed to slightly sway even though there’s no wind.
* * * * *
Liz was taking a walk after her meal. Her meals now are far more luxurious compared to her meals in the village, the candidates don’t have a limit therefore the poor Liz tend to overeat.
Liz saw Grace walking briskly from the first tower gate. She didn’t want to encounter her so she immediately hid. Not noticing Liz, Grace went back to the second temple without turning back.
Instead, she was caught by Duke Igner, who was talking to Grace earlier. One can only enter the gate of the first tower, beyond that only permitted people are allowed, even if they’re a family member, they are only allowed to go through the entrance which is the gate.
“Oh! You’re Liz Stefan.”
How did he know her name? Liz looked at the Duke with a puzzled expression while the Duke had a small, calm smile on his face, similar to Grace’s.
“I heard that Prince Keefa likes you, is it true? If it is, that surely is such an envious story.”
“Uhm, I don’t know.” she answered calmly.
He looked glum but he was still smiling, and without any shame, he openly stared at Liz. His smile seemed to hold something, it’s as if his mind is thinking of something else.
Liz felt something.
‘What is this unpleasant feeling….’
She wasn’t for sure certain but no matter how much she tried, her ‘gut feeling’ and ‘intuition’ couldn’t grasp what it is, they’re all blurred. Her skin’s tingling, there was a sensational feeling in her chest.
‘What is it? What’s this feeling?’ Liz stared at him intently as if she was searching from him the source of discomfort.