The Blue Flower and the Mountain

“At the very edge of the very edge of the world is a village of peaceful farmers, who spend their lives growing their livelihoods from the dead soil. Just east of that village is a mountain of peculiar construction made entirely of jet-black stone. Upon the summit of that mountaintop is a blue flower. It hangs precariously upon the cliff towards oblivion, its form hanging heavily on its thin stem, like a teardrop on the edge of an eyelash. This blue flower is a rarity among rarities, for only one of its kind exists in all the world. It is said that one whomever is worthy enough to pluck the flower from its place will be granted with a unique status among all of creation, for the flower is in truth the final gift from the Creator of this world – the gift of life everlasting. However, the path to the flower is guarded, and guarded so terrible well. For in order to retrieve this blue flower, one must first survive a hundred steps of thorny brambles, whose razor-sharp barbs can slice through stone and whose toxins can kill in seconds. Nested in the thick underbrush of those thorns are a race of foxes with dark red pelts and glistening black eyes, who feed hungrily upon those who trespass upon the sacred ground of the mountain. As such, none so far have been able to approach the flower, and so it continues to bloom in the darkness, a faint light in an eternal darkness – a treasure for the ages.

One day, a traveler entered the village, this one known far and wide for their fortitude and strength. Upon hearing this story from the village people who farmed from the dead soil, this traveler set out to retrieve the flower, and approached the edge of the mountain. Believing that their fortitude and strength in the face of impossible odds had marked them as being worthy of the blue flower upon its summit, the traveler strode forward against the mountain. First, the traveler disrobed, and wrapped their legs with heavy cloth to protect from the barbs. However, with their very first step, a thorny bramble sliced through the cloth and flesh like nothing at all. The barb imbedded into the flesh, where its poison killed the traveler on the spot. Limply, the body tumbled into the brambles, where the barbs cut into dead flesh and reduced the brave traveler into a pale, pink fertilizer, which the foxes promptly consumed.

Later, another traveler entered the village, this one known far and wide for their cunning and wit. Upon hearing this story from the village people who farmed from the dead soil, this traveler set out to retrieve the flower, and approached the edge of the mountain. Believing that their cunning and wit in the face of impossible odds had marked them as being worthy of the blue flower upon its summit, the traveler strode forward against the mountain. First, they fashioned a torch out of a long bit of wood, and used it to burn a path to the flower. However, just as the tongues of flame leapt at the brambles, the brambles leapt at the traveler. The blade-like thorns could slice through flesh and bone like nothing at all, and killed the traveler on the spot. With a sigh, the body tumbled into the brambles, where the barbs cut into dead flesh and reduced the cunning traveler into a pale, pink fertilizer, which the foxes promptly consumed.

Even later, another traveler entered the village, this one known far and wide for their gracefulness and dexterity. Upon hearing this story from the village people who farmed from the dead soil, this traveler set out to retrieve the flower, and approached the edge of the mountain. Believing that their gracefulness and dexterity in the face of impossible odds had marked them as being worthy of the blue flower upon its summit, the traveler strode forward against the mountain. First, they leapt through the brambles, the very tips of their toes touching only the softness of the underbrush, where they walked safe from the danger of the bramble thorns. However, just as the traveler neared one hundred careful steps,with the blue flower only a few steps away, the foxes of the underbrush leapt out from the brambles. The blade-like fangs could slice through flesh and bone like nothing at all, and killed the traveler on the spot. With a scream, the body tumbled into the brambles, where the barbs cut into dead flesh and reduced the graceful traveler into a pale, pink fertilizer, which the foxes promptly consumed.

In the end, another traveler entered the village, this one known far and wide for very little at all, for so few spoke of travelers anymore. Upon hearing this story from the village people who farmed from the dead soil, the traveler set out to destroy the flower, and approached the edge of the mountain. Believing that their understanding and wisdom in the face of impossible odds would mark them as being the only one to do the deed against this summit, the traveler turned their back on the mountain. First they put the village to the sword, to prevent any other travelers from dying so foolishly. Then, they gathered up the pale, pink, dead soil found in the village fields, and placed them at the foot of the mountain. The foxes of the underbrush leapt out from the brambles. The blade-like fangs could slice through flesh and bone like nothing at all, but the traveler was unharmed, for they were a safe distance away and set fire to the pink fertilizer, and the foxes were killed on the spot. The fire roared and leapt at the brambles, and killed the brambles on the spot. Soon the mountain was reduced to a flaming ruin, and the blue flower was promptly consumed.

Content that no other would fall prey to the mountain and the village, the traveler turned and walked away, never to return.”

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