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Gabrielle Bond, Suffolk New College

February 2022

Within the magically enchanted walls of the city of Right Forest, Bouvardia was resting in a small apartment by herself. Bedridden, sick, and in withdrawal. The 1 foot 5, winged Bee Fey. Her hair was a light grey, curly and soft like a cloud. The wings that sprouted on her back, tinged purple at the tips, twitched in anxiety from her position belly-down on the oversized bed. Dark grey antennae twitched in time with her digitigrade legged, cloven-hoofed feet. The white chitin on her skin, puffed up into a fine collar around her neck and fluffed up her hips. Her hourglass figure rounded out by the overall puffiness of her chitin that covered her torso.

She couldn’t remember exactly how long ago it was since she stepped through the front gates of the city—something that took two days alone to accomplish, not even accounting for the several days of travel from the Old Capitol. The city was well-guarded, very gated, and extremely selective. But thanks to her previous occupation as the mayor of one of the cities within the Old Capitol, she was able to get in much quicker than most. Her boss – a Platinum Dragon named ‘Truth’ – saw to that. A stern, strong-willed man.

But it still wasn’t quick enough. Barely two days within the city and the fatigue and withdrawal caught up to her. She hadn’t had her sweet Ambrosia, otherwise known as honey, in days. And her body was in overdrive. The succulent, syrupy creation she has been addicted to for more than 150 years kept her happy… Only happy. No sadness, no anger, only happiness— that was all she ever needed after all.

She was a peacemaker, a negotiator, and an empathetic woman that simply only wanted to get along with everyone she could. And she refused to hurt another soul if she could avoid it. But the constant intake of honey all these many years has taken its toll, and her body was screaming at her to stop.

Stop what? She wasn’t sure. She just knew all she could do was feel, to feel everything and anything.

And it scared her.

She let out a whimper and winced. Two lavender, four-pointed starred pupils, eclipsed by the dark grey sclera, squinted up at the analogue clock at her bedside. The dim light of the bedside table reflected in the metallic sheen of the gentle periwinkle stripes that cupped the bottom of her eyes and slashed further down across her cheeks like a tiger. The time read ‘9:24 PM’, but it meant nothing to her. Time wasn’t even a concept to her when what little consciousness she could muster was riddled with wave after wave of anger, sadness, and grief. It was but days ago that a good deal of the ones she held closest to her heart, betrayed, back-stabbed, and worked towards her demise.

And the only thought she could fit, between her self-pity and sobs, was ‘what did I do wrong?’

She didn’t think she did anything to offend or cross them. Goodness, September was her best friend in her eyes. The tan, horned Elf tried to get the only elevator to the upper levels of the Old Capitol – the only ticket out of the danger Bouvardia was in - to leave before the bee was safe inside of it. Much less her not-so-fortune allies, that didn’t manage to get inside the electrical box. After she made it inside, September had shot the control panel with an arrow from her crossbow, making the doors close and leave three people behind. It killed her inside that she couldn’t go back for them. But what stung harder than the battle wounds on her body, was the fact that the Elf’s betrayal was directed at her.

“We were best friends. I’ve known her for 153 years. Why… would she want me to be left behind? Why… Why……”