A bunch of floral-elves gathered at the square of Evergreen Palace. At the center of the crowd, a blue-hair boy Cornflower was surrounded by a joyful vibe. It was his birthday today, and all the elves here were giving him birthday presents. Despite the fact that he was the youngest prince, the outgoing and authentic Cornflower had maintained a friendly relationship with the guards and servants.
The cheerful Cornflower dashed to hug Welwitschia the king as soon as he saw him, who also hugged him back gently. Meanwhile at the hallway, Hyacinth the eldest prince, who had witnessed the moment, stared at Cornflower with a complicated gaze.
“Everyone likes Cornflower for his pretty face only, but I’m the smart one! Someday they’ll realize that I’m the most brilliant elf!”
Hyacinth worked harder than any elf else to prove himself to everyone. When Cornflower skipped classes to have fun, Hyacinth had already familiarized himself with the politics of Plantdom. His effort was gradually recognised by the nobles and the citizens, but Welwitschia was still not impressed.
Later on, Plantdom was frequently invaded by wild beasts, causing casualties. To protect the elves, Welwitschia ordered wooden fences to keep the beasts away, but the shipment couldn’t meet the deadline because of lacking workers. This had been a pain for Welwitschia lately, so Hyacinth signed up for the matter as this was a great chance to prove himself.
Hyacinth knocked on the doors of almost every merchants, hoping to find as much help as possible. Despite the bumps, he kept working even when it was late at night. While he was waiting for a merchant, he overheard a conversation between the guards.
“Your cage is pretty. Did you get it in the mall?”
“Nah. I ain’t that rich. I ordered the cage from that. It’s so much cheaper and faster——Whoa! P-Prince Hyacinth!”
“Tell me everything about it!”
Interrogated by Hyacinth, the guard revealed that the cage was purchased from the outcasts. And it was a very popular deal among the elves, for the outcasts charged way cheaper.
“This is it!” The excited Hyacinth hurried his way back to the palace. Leading a few soldiers out of the enchantment, he forced the outcasts to work restlessly. Although it only took a relatively short time to make a big progress, the harsh and heavy workload exhausted the outcasts very soon. The managing guard came to Hyacinth for this issue.
“Your highness, they’ll be dead if we don’t let them take a break. Shall we——”
“No! Tomorrow is the deadline. Any breaktime for them will make us late! They’re criminals. They deserve to die! It’s their honour to contribute to Plantdom!”
The fences were delivered on time under Hyacinth’s stringent management. Meanwhile, a few outcasts withered from overwork, and countless of them were ill. Yet this was never Hyacinth’s concern.
“Father is gonna recognise my effort and praise me this time! He’s gonna realize that I’m his best son, not Cornflower!” Holding this thought, he reported this good news to Welwitschia enthusiastically.
“Father, I’ve delivered your mission. The beast will be kept——Ah!”
Welwitschia responded Hyacinth with a hard slap. Falling onto the floor, Hyacinth was in a complete shock, but the disapproval of his father hurt him deeper.
“...Didn’t I finish the job? Why did you hit me?” Covering his swelling cheek, Hyacinth asked in resentment.
“I never taught you with such a terrible act!” Welwitschia yelled.
“...You never teach me anything at all! I don’t even know how to make you like me!”
“Father, I’ve sent medics outside to treat the ill outcasts. They’re stable now,” said Cornflower, interrupting the quarrel between Welwitschia and Hyacinth. The curious Cornflower glimpsed at Hyacinth sitting on the floor.
“Well done, Cornflower.” Welwitschia gave a loving smile at Cornflower, but he stopped when he turned back to Hyacinth.
“Hyacinth, you lack compassion. And result is all you care about. If you keep behaving like that, it will eventually lead you to perish. Do learn from your brother.”
“...Understood, father. Forgive my recklessness,” said Hyacinth. With his head lowered, he rushed out of the room and crossed Cornflower’s path. As his shoulder bumped into Cornflower, their gaze met with each other’s. And that was the moment Cornflower would never forget——he saw the hatred strong enough to diminish Mother Tree’s halo.
Hyacinth kept running and running until he was completely out of breath. Laying on the ground, he stared at the clear sky, which reminded him of Cornflower’s blue. The blue that he loathed to the core.
“I once believed that I could earn the praise of my father with my effort, but this world has always been unfair to me! The moment when Cornflower was born, he already owned the thing that I could never get in my life…”
Hyacinth reached to the sky then clenched his fist, as if he was crushing the shade of blue.
“I don’t need any recognition. As long as I’m crowned, every elf will know I’m the greatest of all!”