[WP] The forgotten tail of the Knight and the Snail. [Link to post.]
Cedric strolled through the King’s garden, his daily constitutional was a chance to bask in the sunlight. He stopped every so often to admire and greet a rose bush here and there. The royal landscapers took great pride in their work; as far as Cedric knew every plant was happy, and every leaf in the garden was perfect. He smiled at the giant red dragon shaped from several intricately pruned rose bushes in the center of the garden.
“CEDRIC! HELP!” Rose’s familiar voice came from one end of the garden. Cedric bolted toward the plea. As he ran more and more voices joined in. “Help her Cedric!” “Rose is in danger!” The urgency in their voices made him wonder if he should expect a fight. The royal garden was off limits to anyone not staying in the King’s castle, but some unsavory types arrived the previous night for an upcoming festival. As a habit he left his armor and weapons in his chambers while taking his walk. He touched his food dagger at his side and hoped that would be enough to handle the threat. He reached Rose, and his head whipped around left and right. He searched the area for any sign of trouble, but saw none.
“HE’s EATING ME!” Rose yelled. Cedric knelt in front of the rose bush, and petted its velvety leaves.
“What’s wrong, Rose? Who’s eating you?” Cedric asked aloud. He did not need to use his voice to speak to roses, but he also knew no one else was around to judge him for it.
“Can’t find it. Down,” Rose said. Despite her panic Cedric chuckled at the situation. While on a bush roses were a hive mind, and that made it hard for individual flowers to identify themselves. Once cut, they had a few days of self awareness before they died. Despite the end, most roses looked forward to it. He cut roses from his favorite bushes frequently. Cedric knelt lower and started touching different stems.
“Up,” Rose said.
“Left.” Cedric already assumed it was a caterpillar or snail; nothing else could be that small, but that dangerous to Rose. Now that he had an idea in his mind he focused his search, and found a single snail hanging upside down from the underside of one of Rose’s leaves.
“Found it, I’m gonna pluck a leaf. Okay?” Despite the roses often reminding him it did not hurt the way humans experience pain, Cedric still felt better asking permission.
“Please!” Rose said. The dense bush made it difficult for him to reach the leaf while wearing his gloves. He pulled back and took off his right glove. It revealed a tattoo of a rose with [the number 41](http://hserratafun.blogspot.com/2017/11/hugoverse-guidebook.html) on its petals drawn on the back of his hand. After removing the glove he reached into the forest of thorns and plucked the leaf from Rose. He stood up and smiled at Rose.
“You’re my hero, Cedric!” Rose said. “You saved me from that monster. You’re a true knight the King would be proud of.” The other roses around the garden joined in the cheer for him. He turned his attention down to the single leaf and the tiny snail.
“Hey little guy, you’re lucky I found you. The gardeners would have smashed you by now.”
“Cedric. You can’t talk to snails,” Rose said.
“I know, Rose. Just being friendly is all. I’m going to go set him free in a field somewhere.”