The amaryllis flower is a stunning, crimson red flower.
It grows plentifully in the gardens surrounding the castle.
From time to time, when things grows quiet and his Master is asleep, Obi will sneak away to get a look at the flowers. He knows the quickest path there, slipping through the shadows undetected by the castle guard. He is alone, just the way he wants to be, undisturbed by anyone in the castle.
These stolen moments are for himself, and himself alone.
He needs time, to think, to process. Obi sees a lot in the span of one day. But mostly, he sees his Master.
And lately the time he gets to spend with him isn't feeling like enough.
Obi sighs, running a hand through his dark hair. After making his way to the flowers, he climbs up a tree that hangs over the garden, shading a small area below it. He settles in, gaze dropping down to where the amaryllis is planted and in full bloom.
Even in the dead of night, they seem to glow ethereally. He spends hours sitting near them, trying to sort through the thoughts in his head.
For some reason, the beautiful flowers are always reminding him of Zen. Their bright and radiating hue, commanding attention, just like him. Strong, proud - unable to be bent or broken.
"Say, Shirayuki," Obi asks one quiet morning while helping her check on the flowers in the garden, "What's with those flowers?" He points to the amaryllis. For all his time spent staring at them, he realizes that he doesn't know anything about them, and he remembers being told that all flowers have symbols.
"The amaryllis?" Shirayuki questions, brushing a strand of red hair behind an ear. "It's actually a somewhat tragic story, really."
"A tragic story? It's a flower." Obi looks at her curiously, taking a basket filled with sweet-smelling herbs out of her hands.
"Well," she begins, brushing dirt from her hands on to her deep blue skirt, "Legend has it that, a very long time ago, the amaryllis flower began it's life as a nymph."
"A nymph? Those are those nature spirits in old folklore, right?"
"Exactly." They begin to walk over to a shaded area and Shirayuki sits down in front of a tree. She stretches her legs, gazing over to where a row of amaryllis flowers began to dance in the wind. "Not just a nature spirit, though. A beautiful maiden. This nymph, Amaryllis, fell in love."
Obi sits down next to Shirayuki, legs crossed. He looks away, letting the cool breeze brush his hair from his face. He nods, listening.
"She fell in love with a shepherd named Alteo. He was incredibly strong and beautiful, but he did not return her affections."
"Unrequited love?" Obi's toes tingle at the mention of it, his stomach twisting.
Shirayuki nods. "Yes, her feelings were unrequited. She sought advice on how to win him over, and figured out the way to do it was to gift him with the most beautiful flower imaginable. One so pure, so bright and unique. In order to do it, she stood in front of Alteo's door under the light of thirty moons. Each night, she would pierce her heart with a golden arrow, allowing a single drop to fall."
Obi closes his eyes, breathing out slowly.
"After thirty nights, when Alteo at last opened his door to see her, what he found was the most beautiful flower that he had ever seen in his life." Shirayuki stops, for a moment, gaze faraway. "It was the most stunning crimson that had bloomed from the blood of Amaryllis' heart."
Obi looks to where the flowers are. The wind has quieted, allowing them to gently bob with its movements, sun glistening off their petals. "Did he fall in love with her?"
Shirayuki chuckles, soft and easy. She has no idea how heavy her words are weighing on Obi's heart. "Well, it depends on who you ask. Some stories say that he was still unimpressed, and ignored her efforts."
Obi holds his breath.
"But others say that he fell in love with her and with her efforts. That their love was a true love." She smiles softly and looks over to Obi. "That's the one I believe in."
Obi lets out a breath he doesn't remember holding. "I think I prefer that one, too."
His friend nods, seeming a little confused at the serious tone of Obi's voice but she doesn't get the chance to ask any questions.
"Shirayuki, are you finished? We've got lunch." It's Ryuu, calling from a ways down the path.
"Yes! I'll be right there!" Shirayuki smiles and waves at Ryuu, who stands to wait for her. She scrambles to her feet, grabbing the basket of herbs. "Are you coming, Obi?"
Obi shakes his head. "No, I think I have something I need to say to Zen."
She nods. "Alright, then." She goes to leave, getting a few paces away before turning back. "Oh, and Obi?"
"Please don't try piercing your heart. I really don't think that would work more than one time."
Alright, well, maybe she wasn't as oblivious as Obi had thought.