“Now, remind me what we’re searching for?”
“But you already know, why should I waste this precious air just to tell you what you already know? I wouldn’t! Do you want all the plants in the garden to die just because you wanted to hear what you knew already? The forests are dying fast enough, thanks.”
You hear your fathers deep sigh from a few yards away, he’s probably massaging his temples again in that way that makes you feel extra bad. You just sink lower into the tall grass. Even though it’s itchy and always gets down your shirt and stains your pants, it’s good for hiding. Really, the only thing tall grass is useful for.
“Wolfsbane isn’t even in tall grass Pâ, come on out and I can show you how to split the stems properly.”
He’s trying to entice you, that insufferable lump of crusty pumpkin bread. You would never give into that so easily, so you nestle further into the grass to prove your point.
“Why don’t you go find some on your own then! You don’t need me to go pick flowers!” You shouted, let’s see dear old dad try and work around that one!
You shoot up from the grasses, tripping over your dried weeds as you practically sprint towards him. Stupid adults calling people by their stupid True Names. Every single one of them is a mashed carrot, and your dad is the mashed-iest carrot of them all. It’s a really hard list to top but your dad is just that amazing. People won’t shut up about how amazing he is anyways so obviously he’d be the most mashed-iest carrot.
He’d probably win against an actual mashed carrot. He’s just that cool.
Not that you’d ever say anything to him about it ‘cause he’d probably get all misty eyed and weak boned an have a heart attack or something. Ms. Grandma was always yelling at dad about that kind of stuff.
Speaking of dad, he looks completely wiped already. His eyes are sunken in and his hair is turning grey at an alarmingly fast pace. He tells you not to worry about his hair because you have a big enough rats nest for three people combined.
You want to think he’s proud of that.
“Are you ready to behave?” He asks, putting his hands on his hips and leaning forward so far you almost wanted to hold out your arms to catch him.
You just nod, looking at the ground and kicking your toe into the dirt to get some ants to scurry a different way. They’re more interesting than your dad’s disappointment face.
You follow him in silence the rest of the way to the bottom of the valley. There’s some giant mountains nearby that you have to climb to get your Title, but you’re too young for that. It’s only been seven blooms and you have to be at least twenty to climb it.
Your dad is rambling to you about flowers and you’re pretty sure he knows you’re not listening. He bends down, showing off his bright red pants under his tattered burned cloak. You keep telling him to let Ms. Grandma fix it but he always just waves you off.
“-always wear gloves when working with wolfsbane, it’s incredibly potent and could-“
You tune out again, looking over your shoulder to the shadowed woods not too far away. Something shifts behind one of the trees and you have to fight the urge to scream at your dad about it. Like he would even listen anyways.
So, like the genius you so clearly are, you quietly sneak off while he prattles on about plants and the Spirits or whatever. You know plenty already, and one little peak couldn’t hurt.
As you got to the edge of the woods you carefully peaked your head in, squinting through the gloom for that shape you saw earlier. Slowly, you push yourself further into the forest, scanning everything at least twice before taking even a small step forward.
You may or may not be completely scared out of your mind. The shadows splayed across the trees keep warping and shifting, the sounds of innocent leaves now come to you as footsteps getting closer, and closer, and closer...
“AAAAAAAAAAH!” You scream, a heavy mass slamming into your side and sending you sprawling across the dirt. Mud squelches under you and a branch is digging in painfully to your thigh. Above you is the drawn back muzzle of a snarling wolf.
Well, okay, it was more of a puppy but it was still almost as big as you are. Plus, it’s teeth are stained at the roots with dark red... You can’t even think the word in your head.
The wolf sniffs at you curiously, pressing their small black nose into every nook and cranny you had. They seem to almost wilt after getting a good read on your scent. With your mightiest glare you get ready to shove off the dog and give it a what-for, but it’s already scampering away. You wonder why for approximately 2.5 seconds when a loud shaking howl pierces the silence of the afternoon. As you stumble your way back to your dad, you officially decided that the whole interaction was weird and vow to bring it up at dinner time. Someone in your massive family must have some kind of answer.
Before you can get any farther though you come across a large stocky body, tattered cloak spread out in a fan around them. Their face hurried in light purple Flowers.