It had been many months since I'd visited the Rose Garden. I accomplished many things in that time. My land grew exponentially, and the power of the Light permeated most of the land. Of course there were always some spots of darkness to be found, but they are never a problem thanks to Nathaniel and I.
We build every day, the two of us. We work to make this world better, and I get more excited about the possibilities as time goes on. Sometimes it feels as if we have no limitations; our powers feel limitless. But, this is only half true. We have our weaknesses. Or, rather, I have my weaknesses.
Nathaniel wasn't around at the time. I was walking through the castle when the Rose Garden caught my eye from a window. I stopped and gazed at it for a moment. It captivated me, as always, and it inspired a curiosity in me that I hadn't felt in a while. I wanted to enter the garden. If my servant were there, I'm sure he would've stopped me. The last time I entered the Garden, I collapsed and fell ill for several weeks. The remaining effects of the illness stayed with me for many months thereafter. So, why enter the Garden now? Call it senseless curiosity. The kind you see in cheap horror movies.
A red haze filled the air around the garden. As I entered, I felt my heart pick up tempo, and something that smelt of bittersweet flower rushed to my head. I maintained my focus nonetheless and walked through the Garden, examining the flowers as I did many years ago. I felt weakened by the weight of the red haze and the aroma of roses, but I didn't falter. My curiosity had become a quest to find truth and to absolve myself of some wicked sin. I picked a rose and perused through its leaves. This one had extra sharp thorns that poked at my hands. They trickled blood.
The blood evaporated into the red haze around me. It was all my blood. My vaporized blood from years of visiting the garden and cutting my flesh upon the red roses. They longed to tear me apart. They extended their roots to grab my flesh and consume me like a handsome meal. The garden had taken so much blood over the past couple of years that it surprised me that I was still alive.
"You will never drain me whole! Your thorns cannot take my dignity away!"
At this point I had lost my sense of reality. The Rose Garden has a way of shutting down the logical part of my mind, and I am left only with sheer emotion and thought.
"Give me my life back! GIVE IT BACK!"
A pair of arms seized me from behind. I resisted.
"GET OFF LADY! YOU'VE CAUSED ME ENOUGH PAIN! GET OFF, GET OFF!"
Slowly I was pulled out of the garden, feet dragging along the cobblestones. The red haze seemed to fill my head, my eyes. I couldn't see anything but red. I was still spouting incoherent protests to the person holding me, and eventually whoever it was laid me down. I couldn't really make out the person's voice, except for a few words.
"...Garden... blood is going... water, bring water..."
I opened my eyes to see my faithful servant standing over me.
"You were out for an hour or so. Can you talk?"
I nodded, "Yeah, I'm just a little... tired."
"Then tell me why you went into the Garden."
"I... I wanted an answer. I wanted it to end, I guess."
Nathaniel sighed, "We've been over this time and time again, the Garden will never bring you answers. It will only bring you pain and confusion, both of which had nearly overtaken you when I found you."
"It was you, then."
"Of course it was! If I'd let you stay in there any longer, something terrible would've happened."
"I have to face her. I have to face the Lady again."
Nathaniel shook his head, "You will not see her. There's no point. She will do nothing for you; just look at what happened to you in there!"
"But... it was easier. I could withstand the spell better than before."
"But it still hurt you. Don't fool yourself, Master. She is still a threat to you, and you must never pursue her until you are immune. Don't you understand that?"
I was silent. I knew this was true, but for some reason I was convinced that my problems would be solved if I confronted the Lady of the Garden. Nathaniel put his hand on my knee.
"I'm just looking out for you. We've made great progress, and your experience proves it. But you can't chase her. It will undo the good we have worked so hard to implement here."
My eyes closed, "I just want it to go away... go away..."
The scarecrow nodded.
"It will, my friend. I promise you."