This can’t be happening, Arnel was thinking to himself, slowly checking each flower along the path. Some kind of ailment has got into the neighbors’ garden and all the daisies have dried up, so the elf decided to conduct a total diagnosis. How stupid of me. How could I get so involved with him and not notice it? The magician complained to himself, remembering all the times he could not restrain himself and kiss the green statue of the master of the estate. Bush, of course, enjoyed such tenderness, but that’s beside the point. I’m such a fool! I even forgot my destined purpose! And what am I to him? He will never, never love anyone else again, and who can blame him for that? Diriel Caro is worthy of eternal love and admiration. And what about me? A child. I’m nothing but a child to him.
Celtiel himself had been at a loss for weeks now. Chaos settled in his head since that very night when he accidentally spied on the young spellcaster. He did not understand why he was so touched by the image of Arnel conjuring under the moon, his whispering, movements, his sad eyes, and his already ritualized kiss. Did Celly’s appearance play a cruel joke on the innocent elf, as Rie claimed back then? Happiness to the only one and eternal sadness to all the rest?
He perfectly remembered how he fell on the hook of tender feelings, how he fell in love with his spouse, how he suffered from non-reciprocity and was tormented after each of Diriel’s refusals. How many were there? Two or three? And how he soared to the seventh clouds of paradise when the ice did break and the beautiful fragile green-haired creature, the embodiment of all his desires and dreams, finally accepted his courtship, and, after some decades, the offer to seal the magical marriage. He remembered and did not want the young magician, working for the good of the garden of his deceased spouse, to suffer. It was not clear to him why but he didn’t want to see those sad eyes all the times when Arnel goes to his wing after a night of transmodeling.
Caro needs to put his thoughts in order. The incessant whys must be resolved. With all the doubts, he did not even notice how he found himself near the workshop, and looking around he was completely dumbfounded seeing Arnel sitting on the pathway to his left on his knees, hunched above the ground.
“Hey! What’s the matter?” Celtiel rushed to the boy and grabbed him by his shoulders.
“Oh, sorry, for disturbing you,” the elf responded with a carefree smile. “I just have to negotiate with someone here.”
“Negotiate?” Celtiel asked, puzzled, squatting down next to the gardener.
“Yes, the stubborn sprout stuck from the ground where it shouldn’t, and won’t obey by any persuasion.”
Only now did Master Caro notice a small, barely an inch high plant – a slender shoot with a couple of leaves on the tip.
“C’mon my little cutie, let me transplant you to your brothers. Someone can step on you, without knowing your true beauty. And there, in the flowerbed, you might meet your parents,” the elf continued cooing, and Caro sat down next to him on the stone path as he was in his dressing-gown. “Look, even the Master came to ask you, don’t be so stubborn.”
“How did it even get here?”
“Looks like the seed was blown away by the wind, so it hatched where it fell.”
“Through the stones? And pretty far from the water,” Celtiel wondered.
“It’s not that far. The soil is moist enough. And the stones are not a hindrance to any plant, especially to young shoots. After all, they have to make their way through the soil and sand to the surface, so Nature has endowed them with strong rudiments of the first leaves, therefore, either way, will come out without asking permission from anyone,” Arnel commented with a smile.
And the sprout, nevertheless yielding to persuasion, began to slowly get out. Bit by bit, millimeter by millimeter, so as not to damage the young root, and was carefully picked up by the magician.
Celtiel also got up, dusted himself off, and, nodding to the young elf, went to the workshop. Sitting on a high stool, he stared at the blank canvas for a while, then, closing his eyes, stretched out his arms and let his imagination go.