Amity Whitebloom, First Floret was busy. Gardening took so much time now, but it was worth every second of it! She watered the flowers, and gently pluck some overgrowth to make sure her little plants were all healthy and growing well with each other. Mistress taught her that sometimes, plants tend to grow over each other a bit, so giving them a gentle nudge was a good thing to do.
She wiped her brow, looking up for a moment. The day was nice, warm light washing over her from all around and letting her relax in the brightness of daylight. And she still had to take care of the vegetables, which was the next patch over from the flowers.
Exiting the green fence that was grown for each patch, she entered the next one. All of them looked so full of life. She plucked one tomato, eating it idly while checking the rest of the garden, before getting her watering can and spreading some more clear, cool liquid for her plants to drink.
The soft grass under her feet tickled just a little bit while Amity resumed her tour. The fruits were good, the vineyard was good. Trees and flowers and roots from all across the galaxy, not just terra, all blossomed beautifully under her care. Sometimes she could swear that she could hear them, thanking her. Perhaps, just another trait that she inherited from her beloved Mistress.
Her eyes glanced yonder, towards the horizon. True, she couldn't see that far off all the same, but she knew Hyacynthia was out there. Taking care of the rest of the world. Even if she couldn't go back to her familiar roots, she found a way to care for the planet on her own. Be it in roots or in person.
"Amity, dear! Lunch is ready!"
"Coming!" She chirped and got up, walking back to the hab unit that she and her Mistress shared. It's been a while since, and now it was much more refined and refurbished. They fixed up the old hab, keeping the tree that grew around and through it. Green and brown walls interlacing with bark and wood, and a gentle set of stairs lead up to the front door, which Amity opened and paced through.
The smell of a freshly cooked meal swept through the air inside. She very much appreciated the effort. It took her a while, but Amity finally managed to get used to the harmony that was cooked meals. And Hyacynthia on her end, worked hard to master the craft of cooking for a living sophont.
Finally, as she got to the kitchen, she saw Hyacynthia. She had one root deep into the ground, and another as a foot tapping about while humming to herself and sizzling something. Amity wasn't allowed to cook, but she didn't feel the urge to either. When she wanted to give her Mistress a treat, she could just get her some fresh water to enjoy. And besides, the heat that came from the stove still intimidated her a tiny bit. Safe as she was, some things were just rooted too deep in her mind, and unlike other Affini, Hyacynthia didn't seem inclined to just remove her memories for her. They had this understanding, that despite Amity being a floret, she wasn't an object. She was just… Amity. A beloved sophont who's cared for and loved.
"I finished taking care of the gardens." She mused, and sat at the table in the kitchen. Internally, she knew her own little garden projects paled in comparison to Hyacynthia pruning and guiding an entire planet full of flora. But it didn't make her feel any less fulfilled to know that at least some part of this world grew happy and healthy thanks to her. After all, it was that very need to nurture and fill others with life and energy that pushed her to be the person she is today.
"Good girl." Hyacynthia pet her head, and Amity smiled just a few notches wider, leaning into her hand and stretching as high as her spine would allow so she could push herself into the welcoming hand just a bit more. "I'm so proud of you little one. Your garden looks better by the day. And I can tell the trees and flowers are thanking you each and every day for all your hard work."
Settling down to the comfort of a well earned meal and the company of her adoring caretaker, Amity slowly let herself drift off as Hyacynthia brought her morsel after morsel of mushroom stew. One of her favorite dishes as of late, and one she happily indulged in when fed to her. True, she could eat on her own. But one would hardly argue against the satisfaction of being so cared for. So loved.
And it was that love that carried her since. The Everbloom, it… Changed her. She couldn't argue against that. What began as just a natural want to make others happy bloomed and blossomed into an intrinsic need to care for others, and bestow all the happiness she could muster upon them. Hyacynthia told her that in a sense, this is what the old tenants of Affini druidism were. To give life love where life needed it most. And Amity fully leaned into it, gleefully letting the rhythm of her heart sway her across the cosmic dance of the Affini themselves. A lone human, given the utmost precious gift of understanding what many would only experience from within, not just without.
As the meal concluded, Amity still had a few more hours of daylight. Really, her life consisted of being cared for and her own gardening project, which Hyacynthia encouraged wholeheartedly. Still, usually, after lunch, she would take the time to walk.
Walk across the gardens. She knew it now, far better than before. She had enough time to survey and study each and every hill, lake and plateau of her home. All the plants that grew there, their names, their fruits. It was no longer an alien world that she couldn't understand, filled with plants who's mere definitions were lost on her. Now, it was a paradise, one that she helped build with her own two hands.
"Where are you going, dear?" She heard the ivory Affini's interrupt her train of thought for a mere moment. She smiled, and reached out to hug her Mistress. "I just wanted to go see the old pod again, if that's okay."
"Of course dear. I'll get a vine ready to transport you, just remember to come back in time for dinner and bedtime, alright?"
"I will, thanks Mistress!" Amity hugged her tighter, smiling soundly before exiting the hab. There, as promised, a vine large enough for her to sit on waited, and as she did, it rose and began extending. Even if Hyacynthia couldn't access her old roots, she could certainly grow new ones, and as promised, she saw the world around her move and shift, familiar trees, ponds and flowers all beaming at her.
A journey that took her weeks to complete, all done within a manner of minutes. An hour, at most. The wind brushed across her face, the floral scent of nectar and pollen filled her nose. As much as the Core Worlds were nice and enjoyable to be on, she'd never make the trade. Never in a million years. Nothing could possibly compare to the satisfaction of seeing flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors wash across her vision like a slide of kaleidoscopic rainbows.
Until, finally, she made it. The old site. Where once stood a mere escape pod still thawing out from the coldness of space, now erected another elegant tree, decorated with Hyacynthia's personal touch. A way to create a nice memory out of a painful past, in her words.
Disembarking the guiding vine, Amity walked closer on her own. There, waiting, was a singular bench for her to sit on. Fuzzy with moss and padded for her comfort, she took her designated seat and just… Watched.
There was something entrancing about the passage of time here. The memories that once stung at her side and made her want to escape no longer hurt. Perhaps, it was her implant, melding her body with the marvel of Affini biotech and keeping the anxiety away. Perhaps it was her heart, beating to the tune her precious owner and guardian, making her feel at ease. Perhaps, even, it was the song, to which her very soul was entangled now. But no. She knew the reason. The real reason that she was able to push past the pain and finally move on.
She grew up.
"Another day of silent contemplation?" She heard that all too familiar voice. Of course Hyacynthia would follow. If Amity needed a vine to carry her, Hyacynthia could move through the earth itself faster than anything she could imagine. "I know you asked me to take you here, but… I can't help but wonder at times what goes on in your little head when I see you sitting here, staring at the shrine I made for our first meeting."
Amity looked over at Hyacynthia, blurry eyes meeting alien metallic hues. "Perhaps… I'm just happy to be able to be here, after everything. I missed this place back when we were on the Core Worlds, you know." She let herself lean to the side, her head plopping ever so gently into the welcoming lap of her guardian, who spared little to no time at all to begin striking her long, white hair. "I changed so much in that time. To think more than half my life now, I've been like this. Here, with you. Caring and giving life to others."
"I can still remember the first time you mentioned it, you know." Hyacynthia's lips curled up into a tiny smirk, one of gratification and satisfaction. "When you told me, for the first time, that you were happy. And even if I couldn't reply in words… I still cherished that moment. Oh, how I wish I could've talked to you back then…"
As if reading her owner's lament, Amity shuffled herself a bit more so she could lean her head against Hyacynthia's side, hugging her. "It's okay Mistress. Both you and I have made a lot of changes since."
There was no arguing against her beloved floret, and the former general of the Compact nodded, pulling her to her lap in full. "I suppose you're right. What did I do to be blessed with such a brilliant floret?..."
Amity pondered that question for merely a moment before the answer was already on the tip of her tongue. "You gave me life."
A rumbling chuckle came out of the ancient one, and the two of them relaxed into one another, arms and vines all coalesced in a gentle bundle of love and affection. They slowly watched, as the sun of their garden slowly descended, giving way to the night sky. After all, the sun needed to go elsewhere, there were so many plants in this world that needed its light and care to grow happy. To deny its natural cycle for a few more moments of cuddles in its warmth would be unbecoming of the pair. However, the memory of warmth would never be lost on either. One, for being the planet itself for so long that she could know its feel no matter where it went.
The other, for being born into it anew.
A vine slowly lifted both Amity and her Mistress as the two were carried back. The scenic route, as Hyacynthia declared it with a proud tone, was obviously the better method of travel if it meant being able to share the sights with her beloved floret. Still, with the fleeting moments of sunlight left, Amity's broken eyes widened just a smidge while watching the usually bright and clear skies explode with a bright shower of orange and red hues, before finally settling to the darker blues of space itself, the stars in the sky shining brilliantly as ever.
Dinner time was quick. Sometimes, the best meal was a simple one, and munching on some of her owner's own grown fruits was always a sensation she relished. She even took small, petite bites, wanting the moment to linger as long as it could, though even that wouldn't last forever.
And, as the pair finally laid in for a good night's rest, Amity found herself struggling to fall asleep. Not due to any nightmares or bad memories, it was merely her own thoughts, running still.
It dawned on her for a moment the irony of her own journey. Before, her name was meant to represent anger. Hatred. A never ending war that was never fated to win in the first place, and all the urge to destroy that came after. But now… Now she was free of all that. Free of vengeance. Free of being controlled, despite the irony of being a pet.
Free… Of rage.