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Like The Hibiscus

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Like the Hibiscus

I was simply a vassal. A servant serving my country, my emperor, my world. The purview of my world was centered around the emperor. My entire life was spent orbiting his rule. I started to wonder if my role as a vassal was really benefiting my country. I do not ask to know if I am a pawn. Everyone serving his dynasty is aware of their expense. I looked over to my left. Just three meters away was the princess. I found my answer. She was worth protecting and in doing this; I was doing the upmost for my country. 

We were headed down a pathway with minuscule plant life, dismal and insignificant. Although the princess and her company, including myself, were all atop our horses, it was still crucial that we scan the ground for thorns. I was given this position to guard the princess of a grand nation of which I was not even indigenous to. If it weren’t for my kin relationship with the emperor, a foreigner like myself would never get to see royalty in the flesh.

Under my aegis, I ensured the safety of the princess. I provided her with personal security. Her outer guards stood a bit further from her. Even three meters distance was a little farther than I would usually stray from the princess’s side. Today; however, she desired to be more solitary even though it only meant that we gave her a little more space. I understood why as well. The emperor had obfuscated the princess last night when he suddenly announced her arranged marriage to the son of a recently allied country who was also of some noble. Not only was the princess left bewildered, but she was also saddened that she could not choose her husband. Although it was customary for arranged marriages to be made in noble houses, the princess was more free-spirited. She was fortunate that her open opposition to the courtship had not gotten her into trouble. The princess spoke confidently to her father, instead of humbly, which was expected of a young noble woman. I personally found her courage appealing rather than appalling. 
The princess halted at her favorite spot in the garden. It was mine as well. She allowed me to come nearer to her. I was pleased to see her smiling, a change that contrasted the frown she had worn earlier in the day. She ushered me towards the small patch of Hibiscus flowers that she had begun growing a few fortnights ago. They grew fast due to the fertility of the soil in the garden. “Why is it that we are so much like flowers?" whispered the princess in a soft voice. I was unsure of whether I should answer her or not. She often posed questions to me without asking for an answer or giving one. I pondered her words. I decided to answer her.   “We grow, we flourish, we wither, we die. Just like a flower, we go through the cycle of life."  I said softly. She blinked twice and then hummed in agreement with my statement. She suddenly deracinated the flowers. "What are you doing to your garden?!" I exclaimed in shock.     "You will see." she said smiling. I was calmed by her smile. I realized she needed something to carry them in so I left to find her a container for her flowers.    The princess was philanthropic , another trait uncommon for those of nobility. She had the flowers she had grown sent to the market where the peasantry in turn could take the flowers for free. Any family who had taken her flowers was secretly rewarded. Late at night, the princess had me take the money given to her by her father, and leave it for the family with a hibiscus outside their door. It was customary to leave them outside since they were very rare. Everyone in the village would see the flower as a symbol for fortune. It was a way to give people hope. The princess's charitable act was admirable. I asked her why she had given her beautiful flowers away. "I am the daughter of an emperor, I cannot choose most of what I do in life, and like a flower, before I wither and die, I would like to flourish the lives of other even if it means giving them some of what I have. It is one of the few choices I can make." This time it was I who hummed in agreement.     Later that day, I spoke with the emperor. I saw a melee between two servant boys playing in the yard as I passed through to head towards the emperor. They were supposed to be working, but I decided to let them continue their boyish brawl. After all, like flowers, they were simply growing. 



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