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vanilla #1, chocolate #1, strawberry #1

Author: chickadelle
Title: The Gardener
Story: Graywillow
Challenge: Vanilla #1: shopping ; Chocolate #1: loyalty/trust ; Strawberry #1: strawberries
Rating: PG
Word count: 836
Summary: Lord Ashwood has a mission for Primrose.
Notes: Hiya! First time posting, at least under this name - I used to come here as miimeichan a long time ago, and some of you will probably remember me :3 Same person, but a new account and new stories. So, mods, may I please have an author tag? chickadelle should do fine :) TIA! ♥


It was early summer, the sun blazing bright and hot against the tanned skin of Primrose’s neck, when she finally realized something she should have understood years ago. Kneeling next to a bed of strawberry plants, pulling out weeds and chattering aloud to the tiny white flowers around her, it had never been this clear. It was like everything had stopped in the vast lands surrounding the Ashwood Manor; everything but Primrose and the old, graying pine tree casting a shadow over the strawberry field.

The pine didn’t belong there. It had been standing there, all alone, for the nine years Primrose had been gardening the place, yet somehow it had managed to escape her attention completely. But not anymore, no - now she knew. Now she realized that the pine belonged elsewhere. Where - that she didn’t know, but it was clear that it was wrong.

All wrong things were to be fixed.

A loud crunch echoing through the strawberry plantations pulled Primrose out of her thoughts. She jerked, realizing that she had been doing nothing but just sitting there, staring at the old pine, not even attempting to do her work --- heart thumping in her chest, she looked behind her. Even against the blinding sun, she could recognize the tall figure of Lord Ashwood.

“Sir,” she spoke, shielding her eyes from the brightness with a dirt-covered palm. “I thought you were supposed to be gone till lunch.”

“That I was.” Garnet sighed loudly, plucking a spider from the shoulder of his jacket. “However, there were other things to be done instead. Is everything okay? You were looking a bit dazed there, dear.”

Primrose didn’t ask about the other things. It wasn’t her place to. Instead she turned back to the pine tree, and, swiping the hair from her face, spoke again.

“There’s something wrong with the pine, sir.”

“Hmm? Is there, now? I thought I noticed something.”

The Lord’s words carried a carefree tone, but the idea of noticing something made Primrose nervous. It wasn’t supposed to happen -- Lady Grace would have her head is she knew.

“It doesn’t belong here, sir,” Primrose said, glancing at the man. “It’s wrong.”

Garnet hummed again, looking thoughtfully at the pine tree. It didn’t look wrong, of course - Primrose would have fixed it ages ago if it did. The tree carried an aura of something mysterious, something different - something that most definitely didn’t belong to the sunny strawberry plantations.

It didn’t want to be elsewhere, Primrose thought, but it didn’t want to be here either.

“Well, I guess it must be true then,” Garnet spoke eventually, snapping his fingers together. “You know the grounds better than anyone else, after all… do you want it gone?”

Primrose stared at the tree.

“I don’t know, sir.”

“Ah. Let it stay. I like it. It has character.”

Character. Primrose studied the gray bark, the silvery needles, and sighed inwardly. She loved the tree like she loved everything else in the grounds - in her Gardens - but not even the pulse of warmth inside of her could make the pine’s existence right.

“Of course, sir. Did you have something else to say, or were you just walking around…?”

“Ah! Yes, yes, I need you to run a few errands for me, dear. In secret.” Garnet’s voice plummeted a little, morphing to fit his new, serious expression. “I have a list of items you need to acquire as soon as possible. The cost does not matter - whatever the… sellers want, let them have it. Anything, Primrose.”

The Lord held out a small pouch of money, waiting for Primrose to take it before saying more.

“You’ll have to travel a bit more than usual for them, but I trust you to be back by dinner. If anyone asks, you had to retrieve an order of books for me. Grayson is tied.”

Primrose nodded, standing up. A piece of paper rattled inside the money pouch as her fingers clenched around the leather.

“Should I go unnoticed, sir?”

“Please do.” Garnet fell silent for a second. “I want you in my office at five o’clock, sharp. If you’re not there, I will assume that you aren’t coming back anymore. Do not break my trust.”

A shiver ran up Primrose’s back.

“Sir… A question?” Garnet nodded. “Astersmith or Blueville?”

“Blueville. Now, please make haste… there are others hunting for these same items, and I need to acquire them first. I’m sure you understand.”

Primrose did. She took one last glance at the strawberry bushes around her, avoiding the old pine tree, and turned to the Lord.

“Thank you for your trust, sir. I will be back in time.”

Garret smiled. “I know you will. Now, go - and remember, stay safe.”

Primrose nodded and took a deep breath as she tried to catch a thought running inside her head. Her eyes fell closed, and the warmth of the sun disappeared, leaving her shivering. When she exhaled, she was in her own room.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 20th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
Welcome back. I added your tag.
Aug. 21st, 2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you and thank you :)
Aug. 20th, 2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
Oh hi there, I remember you!

This is really interesting. I wonder what's with the pine tree. It's certainly unusual in a sunny garden, but the way Primrose seems to have only just noticed after so long makes me wonder what's happened in her history, and if she's missing something...
Aug. 21st, 2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
The pine tree is actually as normal as any other plant in a magical world can posssibly be; it's Primrose who's a bit special here ;)

Thank you! ♥
Aug. 21st, 2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Hi! Welcome back :D

Interesting start. The pine is giving me a creepy feeling now, even though I've only just read of it, like it's a spy tree or something. Nicely written. Looking forward to seeing where it leads :)
Aug. 21st, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
Haha, as amazing as spy trees sound, this one is nothing extraordinary :3

Thank you! ♥
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:17 am (UTC)
Hey welcome back! :)

Very interesting start. I want to know about Primrose and that task she is doing as well as more of the Garden.
Aug. 24th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ♥ Primrose has really grown into me, even more than I expected, so there will definitely be more pieces about her and the Gardens coming up ;)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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