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Backstory

        Leaning against the fence, Sakura was waiting at the blossoming lakeside. Later on, Prince Cornflower arrived.

        “Sakura, may I know your decision?”

        “Cory,” the smiling Sakura turned around and continued, “if you don’t mind my humble background, I do.”

        “Really! Cough——”

        “Are you alright?”

        “I-I’m alright. I was holding my breath out of nervousness, and I choked myself when I breathe again,” said Cornflower. He held Sakura in his arms and said softly, “I feel relieved as long as I have you and May Lily.”

        “Is it really the right thing to do…” While listening Cornflower’s heartbeat, Sakura was still doubtful about her decision.

        As their engagement was officially announced, they had the engagement ceremony held at a full moon night. It was already late at night when the ceremony ended. Staggering her way back to the room, Sakura found May Lily standing in front of the door. In this cool weather of Autumn, all May Lily had wore was a light jacket. When Sakura was about to put a cloak on him, he slapped her hand away, which was harsh enough to make her hand swell.

        “You’ve already engaged with the prince. Behave yourself.” Then May Lily handed a bag to Sakura, which contained all gifts from her.

        “You’re about to become a royal member. Don’t do anything suspicious...Take care.”

        Sakura was going to say something, but her swelling hand reminded her that everything had changed.

        The dejected Sakura took a walk in the garden. As she ran into Strelitzia, she got herself together and greeted, “hey Strelitzia, are you here for a walk too?”

        “No. I’m here for you. Sakura, I actually…” Strelitzia paused and stared at Sakura; unlike her gentle and loving gaze before, Strelitzia was now looking at her like a predator, which terrified her. Then Sakura pushed Strelitzia away and ran all the way back to her room. Opening the door, she saw her good friend Rosemellow, who came over as she saw Sakura in a panic. “Sakura, what happened?” Rosemellow asked in concern.

        “Everything has changed since I said yes to Cory’s proposal. I’m scared...Rosemellow, help me…”

        “My poor Sakura, don’t be scared. I’ve got your back.” Rosemellow hugged her and whispered, “you haven’t drank water for days and your limbs are drying out. You’re gonna wither if you keep on that way. Here, I’ve got you water from the west spring. Drink it and you’ll forget all the sorrow.”

        As Sakura took the cup handed by Rosemellow, she smelt an unusual aroma from the water. Looking at Rosemellow confusingly, she was startled by the creepy smile on her face.

        “Even Rosemellow has changed. Every elf isn’t the one I’m familiar with. If I can escape from this total disaster…”

        Despite the knowledge about the water, Sakura drank it anyway, for she couldn’t bear the change. Falling into deep sleep, Sakura didn’t wake up until she heard the weeping of Cornflower. Yet she was unable to open her eyes.


        “I...The water from Rosemellow is poisonous…” Sakura was shocked by the weeping Cornflower.

        “It’s all my fault...My negligence put you in danger. Useless elf like me doesn’t deserve the crown!”

        “No, Cory, it’s not your fault. It’s all because I’m weak!” Only if Cornflower could hear Sakura’s thought.

        Sakura would fall asleep from time to time, but she was awake most of the time. By hearing the sound surrounding her, she knew that a lot of visitors had come and gone. Cornflower was the only elf had been staying all along.

        Sakura had tried to reach out to comfort Cornflower for countless times, yet she couldn’t even move an inch. She was aware of the lesser strength in Mother Tree, as well as the tension in the royal family. As the days went by, the competition between Strelitzia and Hyacinth had become intense. If the old Cornflower was here, he would’ve resolved it easily. Yet all he had done was staying at her bedside.

        “No. This will only bring misery to everyone. I’m scared of change because change will hurt me; but I didn’t know that my fear would also hurt the others...Please, Mother Tree! I can’t just lie on the bed doing nothing. I want to protect the elves I love!”

        Sakura’s wish was delivered to Mother Tree; someone fed her with a soothing liquid. The liquid soon flowed through her body, waking the frozen energy within.

        “Mmm...What…” Sakura opened her eyes and saw a stranger; having been in a coma, her eyes squinted in adjustment to the light.

        “Great! You’re awake,” said a female-elf Rose with a smile. Sakura attempted to get up but failed, falling down onto the bed. Rose helped her up immediately.

        “Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re still in recovery.”

        “No...Mother Tree is seeking help…” Ignoring Rose’s intervention, Sakura pressed on her aching head and rushed to the doorstep. The first thing she saw was the withering Mother Tree, which used to be ever-green.

        “What...is going on?”

        “That’s why I woke you up. Madam Mysorensis is perished. You’re the only one who can save Mother Tree now!”

        “I can’t…” Sakura stopped what she was going to say. Instead, she clenched her fists.

        “I’m still afraid of change, but I can’t run away from my responsibility anymore…”

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