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-and always, even if she would draw her last breath now. So many different kinds of trees, the mighty oaks and the steadfast apple trees, the lonely Ash, they would all live longer than her and that would be enough for her. There were so many varieties, those that fed them, those that sheltered them, those that were there to sleep under and even in and peer over-

It was said that the first tree planted in Florin was an apple tree, with Buttercup pretending that her own apple tree was that very one as a child and making herself sick on its apples even when the season had gone, even though it was said that that particular tree, when its life naturally ended its lifespan gave birth to many other trees. Trees were so important in Florin that there would be days when people would plant new trees and make parties of it while wearing lovely sweaters with designs of trees (for this was after knitting and sweaters but before machines could make clothing), and one of the only laws Buttercup knew was that if one cut a Florinese tree one should plant another in its stead, lest they pay the punishment of three years imprisonment and forty crowns. A man, a foreigner, had dared to protest this, having chopped down a beautiful Ash tree for a chair, and had been given a harsher punishment of five years imprisonment and sixty crowns to which the people had cheered and pushed for harsher punishments for those who dared desecrate their beloved Florinese trees.

(A war had been fought between Florin and another country because the other country’s princess had insulted their beautiful Royal Forest of Ash and Pine trees, with civilians coming to arms, male and female, and fields going unplowed as they marched into that country to avenge the honor of their trees. The other country didn’t stand a chance.)

Each house in Florin had trees and to have them was not just for betterment of oxygen (which was before the sun but after the earth) but as a sign of prosperity, such that those with few trees were routinely mocked by others with many. To die in a forest full of Florinese trees, so much more than she ever had at home or even in the Palace, would be lovely but-

She gasped as armed men fell out of the trees and quickly engaged the Brute Squads chasing them. “Oh, if the trees aren’t hurt-“

Westley looked at her oddly, fondness in his eyes. “They’re some of my men, love. Stay by me.”

She looked mournfully at a broken tree branch that had fallen down in the distance.