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Blooms of the Pomegranate Tree

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Humanity’s greatest questions have always existed in a simultaneous state of despair and wonder. The ponderings of scientists and philosophers will never cease as long as life exists, inherently causing a pondering of our becomings. It makes sense then, that humans have formed myths throughout time to tell of greatness that floats outside of our tangible world, making sense of the most compelling of mysteries that revolve around our universe.

The four divisions of the year, sectors of time that vary depending on daylight hours and weather patterns, are seasons, an incomprehensible shift that gives no reins to society. It comes as no surprise that a thing like this gains a myth of its own in a story that crosses between the contrast in life and death. In the two seasons that allow for growth, spring and summer, life sprouts from the ground and allows for the earth to thrive. The proceeding months leave the earth to shiver in its deadly presence.

This construction of the earth’s seasons begins in the everlasting prospering of the world, a time when harvest and spring were joined together infinitely by the will of the Gods, never to be separated. The love shared between the two was sacred, unconditional, the kind that could only be forged through familial ties.

✧ ✧ ✧

Taehyung has always existed among life.

The skittering of animals across a meadow, the blooming of flowers, a gentle rain that gives back to the earth - his passion was born from his own heart, flushing forward like a blooming rose in the month of March. It was nothing he could ever reject, as he was the son of the harvest and sky, the creation of spring. His friends are water nymphs and yellow lilies. He spends his time flouncing throughout the meadows, tending to the nature that surrounds humans and always sours without his help.

He has never done anything but love this place, a wondrous setting that gives dark, lush green grass, soft blades that thread through his fingers when he lays down and spread his arms out. His sky is always blue, the water always pristine and clear, and the tulips always bloom in vibrant colors that put his robes to shame. There is nothing better than living in this perpetual state of life, ebullience residing all around him in the energy he gives to the earth, allowing for plentiful harvests that allow the humans to live.

But he is not alone in this creation of life; his mother, the Goddess of agriculture and the harvest, pushes the most impact out among the plants, allowing them to grow to their full potential. Without her, the humans live without what grows, and all food is derived from what Taehyung and his mother create. Life does not exist without her, as with any God. Taehyung has been taught from birth that each plays a vital role in the systems of humans throughout the passage of time. One missing link from the chain disturbs the natural order, so each commits to their duties out of love for the life they have spent so long creating.

As Taehyung grows older, his own duties gain more impact, as each year the flowers bloom fuller, the harvest reaps more sustenance, and the air becomes more crisp. This year, he hopes for it to be his best yet. He can always feel the excitement when he watches right outside the towns as the humans celebrate for another year well-spent, and he wishes that he could perpetually give happiness to every human that is birthed into an unexpected life full of ups and downs. He knows that the Gods themselves are triggers to whether or not existence plagues or thrives. Every God plays a role in some way, bringing balance to a world that never ceases its own growth.

“Taehyung!”

Taehyung startles from where he was laying by the edge of a small pond, shaded from the heat of the sun by the surrounding trees. He has always been quite a fan of the water and its reflective surface, not only for the way it looks but because these little ponds usually lingered in the centers of forests. The nymphs always played there, flitting this way and that with a giggle, and Taehyung loved to play with them as he is still young in the eyes of the Gods. This is where his mother often finds him, wading shallowly in the water or hiding behinds trees as the nymphs chase him cheerily through the forest.

He treks outside of the forest and into the meadow, greeted by his mother’s endlessly warm smile. She has not aged a day, as always, and he almost laughs at the thought before she’s embracing him in a tight hug.

“What did I tell you?” She chides him, patting him gently on the cheek. “Warn me before you run off somewhere, you may get lost someday.”

“How could I get lost? The nymphs will just lead me back home.” He laughs, skipping away when she raises her eyebrows threateningly. “Okay, okay. I promise to tell you next time.”

“You better,” she says. She looks around the meadow, taking in the many flowers that grow in little clusters, held by the moist soil in a haven of nutrients. Sighing contently, she comes closer and loops an elbow around Taehyung’s arm. “The flowers look beautiful, my son. Everyday I wonder how far your powers will reach.” She looks up at him, smiles. “And wonder, how have you gotten so tall? Just yesterday you were at my hip.”

“I’ve grown, mother. Would you rather me be short?”

She laughs and tugs him closer as they walk into the clearing, the sky setting into a mix of pinks and blues that tell of it almost reaching the time of stars. “Like that Jimin fellow? Of course not, I just wish my only son hadn’t already succeeded me in growth. It seems that the bigger and older you may get, the farther you may be from my reach. Naturally, it could only worry me.”

He looks down, takes in his mother’s tan complexion, so beautiful and golden like his own, and can’t help but smile. Even the life within their glowing skin tones is an indicator of how their duties tangle with each other through their mutual creation of life. He can’t imagine ever growing far from her reach when they are so close, never growing tired of each other as they are the only ones they have left. He has never known his father closely, only watched him rule from afar, so he’s placed all his love in the mother that has raised him faithfully.

“I would never leave you,” he assures, reaching his opposite hand across to pat at the elbow wrapped securely around his. “Only humans recklessly leave their homes as they become adults. I am your son, the God of spring - how could I ever leave my mother that helps me create everything that flourishes in existence?”

His mother pauses, shakes her head disbelievingly. “How did I ever end up with a son as lovely as you?”

“We are one in the same,” he says, smiling. “Whatever you see in me is merely a reflection of you.”

✧ ✧ ✧

Taehyung has been invited to the monthly meetings since he was old enough to truly understand what everyone was saying. They are a time in which the Gods congregate to discuss the ongoing life of the earth, what needs to be fixed and what is doing well as is. It is also the only time Taehyung sees his father unless he voluntarily seeks him out, which is a feat in itself if he is actually able to find him. Everytime, he sits meekly among the Gods and doesn’t speak unless addressed, which is rare. The others don’t usually have an issue with him, as he is still finding a handle on what he does and only attempts to follow the rules set in place. He has never defied anyone on purpose.

This month’s topic seems to be especially focused on the God of the sea, rivers, and droughts, as a group of droughts had struck the earth strangely within the last year. Other than that, life has been moving steadily for the little ones of the universe - or at least as well as it could be. Human nature and free will are things that can’t be counteracted by any act of a God.

The meetings are held at Mount Olympus, which Taehyung is thankful for. In his moments of boredom, such as now, he tiptoes on the clouds and laughs nervously when his feet disappear in a mist of white, dragging his legs out onto proper surface to chase out his eventual fall if he was to stay in one place too long. As a God of nature, he is not used to being among the clouds like his father or some of the more powerful beings, and it takes time to learn how to keep yourself from falling through the clouds. He toys with the danger, walking to edges and standing for as long as he can before he falls through, simply enjoying the rush it sends through his body.

“Playing with fate, are we?” The voice is unfamiliar, cold even with the purposefully teasing edge. Taehyung turns and yelps when he almost falls backwards at the suddenness.

He only faintly recognizes the boy, a new God. It must mean he was born sometime after him, and his dark robes are barely any help in trying to put a name to his face. They wrap around him in silky, shiny waves that Taehyung almost finds himself envious of, even with the multiple colors that crest through his own in a palette beautiful pastels.

“I suppose so,” Taehyung admits, glancing behind the boy to find the older Gods still arguing about something. He notices the boy glance at him before feebly attempting to move his own feet into a proper footing. Not from the skies, then. “You are?”

“My father is the God of the underworld,” he says simply, crossing his arms and tilting sideways when his foot still seems to disappear under the clouds at an alarming rate. Taehyung snorts, the boy shooting a glare his way, confidently settling himself upright again. “I'm Jeongguk, his successor.”

“Oh, how uncommon! To succeed in your father’s power, that is. I've rarely heard of it, but then again.” Taehyung taps his chin. “Anyhow, I'm Taehyung, the-”

“-God of Spring. I'm aware. It's hard not to hear you weeping when a flower dies,” Jeongguk complains. “As if there aren't a million more, for that matter.”

“Each flower matters. A dead flower is just a representation of the limitation of my own power.”

“A dead flower is an addition to keeping this world at balance,” Jeongguk says. His skin is so, so colorless, and Taehyung wonders if it's from spending all that time in the underworld. But his point is the textbook kind, understandable, forcing Taehyung to nod in agreeance.

“I agree,” Taehyung says forcibly, frowning. “I just wish there was a way to keep them all alive.”

“They're excellent company in the underworld. Livens the place up a bit. Living around so many dead people can be somewhat dreary,” Jeongguk comments. Everything he says is said so carelessly, almost dead-like, as if he cannot even find the emotion to implement in his words. “I admire your work. To create life - I can imagine that it's much more fulfilling than-”

“Every duty of a God is fulfilling, Jeongguk! Don't doubt your own job, although I can't say I would ever do it. As you said, these actions exist for balance. There is no life without death, as they say.” Taehyung gives him a reassuring smile before startling at the call of his mother, signaling that it's time to go back to earth now. The look Jeongguk gives him is just slightly more moved than before, meaning not much at all, but it's appreciated in comparison to the pallid visage he held before. “Bye bye Jeongguk!”

“Bye, Taehyung,” the young God says, backing away carefully.

“Who was the boy you were speaking to today, Taehyung? I couldn't see him as I was facing his back,” his mother asks later, tucking a wreath of flowers around his head with a smile.

They're in the meadow again, his head cradled in her lap while she lovingly strings together these crowns made of flowers and their thin stems. She always makes them to make Taehyung feel better when it seems that a bush has been trampled, taking the dying flowers and making them into something beautiful before they gradually crumble into fragile pieces. Taehyung twists slightly in his position on the ground and thinks back to earlier, to big eyes and a murky irises that swallowed him whole.

“His name is Jeongguk,” Taehyung says thoughtlessly, “he's the successor to the throne of the underworld. A new God.”

His mother freezes, hands dropping an unfinished flower crown that ends up floating down to Taehyung's head, landing in a delicate stance on top of his face. He shakes his head and watches it fall away to the ground, reaching for it again so that he can place it in his mother’s awaiting hand.

“The underworld?” His mother asks feebly, taking the flowers again. “I don't like that, Taehyung. You know I dislike his father, and if a parent is any indication of how a child may turn out, I don't want you to be around Jeongguk anymore. Death and destruction have never been our friends.”

Taehyung nods after a pause, something he always does; he feels the necessity to agree with his mother out of this filial piety within him, but also wants to disagree. Jeongguk didn't seem harsh or mean, just a bit standoffish. But Taehyung knows well that a person can be someone different at the time of meeting, as it’s more awkward when you've never had the opportunity to feel them out and become comfortable. Besides - he's growing older now, and Taehyung is not fragile. He is a God of strength and life, and the words of his mother are something he will always heed carefully to, but take with more careful consideration as the years pass.

He can protect himself, he knows this. He is not broken.

Regardless, he makes a silent promise to his mother not to go near the boy who was born through death, smiling hesitantly at her. It doesn't stop him from questioning idly later, though, watching as his mother's eyes widen in alarm.

“But what would we do without them, mother? How can we exist without Jeongguk, his father, the underworld?”

“I don't know,” she answers. For once, her face is not alight with happiness at Taehyung's curiosity. “But often, I wish there was a way.”