Spring. The part where the bright red—you might just call it pink— Kokkino trees bloom. For some it’s a sign of good fortune, for others, a sign of disaster. I’m not quite sure where it came from, but I personally believe they don’t have any meaning. I mean, the petals look great, it can’t possibly have any bad meaning.
“It’s a nice break from life.”
I’m looking at the great landscapes of Anterra, a place where it’s mostly clean. I think it’s because the government enforced the rules properly here, and people volunteer to clean the area.
“This looks like a nice place for me to sit.”
I sat down under a Kokkino tree. The falling petals look so gorgeous. I go here every spring, just doing nothing for hours. It doesn’t get boring somehow.
I heard a female voice coming from behind me.
“Hello. May I help you?”
“Uh, no, I didn’t mean to ask you for help. I just want to say hello. I’m Mariah, I come here every month to check on the tree and clean trash, if any.”
“Nice to meet you…”
I didn’t prepare myself for a conversation with a stranger. I thought I was going to chill here by myself.
“Say, have you ever wondered about the history of this tree?” She asked me a question.
“Well, I only know that some people associate the blooming of Kokkino as good fortune, but for others, it’s a sign of disaster.”
She took a glance at the tree, before setting her eyes on mine.
“This tree has had its fair share of history.”
“Roughly a thousand years ago, two superpowers of the past world had a war on a resource. The resource can only be produced by Kokkino trees, which is native only to this area, and its seeds cannot be planted anywhere else. The reason was quite unclear. Regardless, historians say the resource was so valuable at that time, that both nations went all out for it, and caused destruction to both sides. Millions had lost their lives.”
I can’t believe such trees would have a violent history.
“I’m not saying I don’t trust you, but do you know any sources to back it up? I could look it up myself.”
“’Look it up…’ Yeah, nowadays you don’t need to go to a library…”
“I am the ‘source.’”
“Y-yeah… I’m going to need some—”
“I witnessed it.”
She immediately cut me off. She said she witnessed it, but she looks like a middle-aged woman. Is she delusional or something? Have I just listened to a made-up story by a delusional woman?
“I am 1000 years old, you know.”
Yeah, she’s delusional. A thousand year old human? She’s messed up in the head.
“I haven’t told you about what the resource is used for. It is to stop the process of aging.”
Stop the process of aging? You know what, I don’t buy it. This is madness.
“Look, look, look. Are you… okay? First of all, you witnessed a war that happened a thousand years ago, then you claimed you’re a thousand years old, and that is somehow due to something that’s in this tree that can stop aging. You think I can believe such story?”
She smiled. She f—ing smiled. What is wrong with this woman?
“I can’t make you believe something you don’t want to believe. If you think I am crazy, go ahead. I can only tell you so much.”
She sounded so honest. Maybe I am overreacting? Ugh, what am I doing, I shouldn’t give in.
… Maybe I should.
“If the resource is so wonderful, how come it’s not being harvested today?”
“Because it simply ran out.”
“It… ran out? How? It’s produced by the tree, right?”
“Kokkino trees are unique indeed, but said resource is only produced by this specific tree, and it cannot continually produce it. It ran out, because I used it.”
Huh? So the resource is limited to only a single person? Wait…
“Because you used it? So… the huge war was all for a resource that is enough only for a single person?”
She smiled and said, “Exactly. The war was all for… virtually nothing. This tree serves as a remnant of the past, as its petals adorn the world after a dark period of calamity. I am connected with this tree, and the tree and I will continue to live as long as ‘we’ are alive. ”
I had nothing to say. Initially I didn’t want to believe her, but her tone is honest and sincere, that I had a change of heart, and mind.
“You… I believe you.”
She set her sight on the distant mountains. She pointed her finger towards it, and said,
“That is where the war took place. A place that will soon erode by time, but the history lingers for as long as the mountain rocks exist. I vividly remember the day where both nations clashed there.”
This conversation made me ask,
“You said you witnessed it. So you actually saw it happen with your eyes?”
“Of course, what part of ‘I witnessed it’ you didn’t understand,” she giggled afterwards.
She paused for a second and then said, “I lived at the peaks with my sister. We saw men killing men with their weapons. Bloodshed everywhere. I don’t know why they couldn’t just… work together. If they did, maybe the resource could’ve been produced by ourselves.”
“Greed. It is in human nature. Please, continue to be humble. Don’t let greed overwhelm you and cloud your judgment, lest history repeats itself,” she continued.
I ran out of words to say. I am interested in learning the history about the war, so I asked her if there was a name for it.
“What is the name of the war?”
“Haha, it’s really simple. It’s just The Great Kokkino War. A tree that brought destruction to two once powerful nations. Sounds unbelieveable at first that two nations would destroy each other for a single tree, but it happened.”
I’m definitely looking it up once I go back.
“Well, that is enough storytelling. I’ll go back to the peak. Thank you for the conversation, young man. May we see each other once again.”
She then walked away, towards the mountains. A cold breeze blew the Kokkino petals away gracefully. I think that’s enough break for today.
“I didn’t even get to tell her my name…”
Next Chapter: [Chapter 5]