With sickness dragging at my bones, my throat, and the pit of my stomach, I shambled through a flower market nestled in the heart of an unfamiliar region. As I was new to the area, I didn’t know where to find the plant I needed. That plus the language barrier meant this market was my last hope.
Hand on aching stomach, I peered into every stall with swollen eyes. None had the right herb. At least, I hoped I hadn’t just missed it because my eyes hurt so much.
But on the edge of the market, I came across a man selling dried flowers. They hung on a slim metal wrack, upside down in bunches of several kinds. Each bundle tied with a neat tag explaining their contents in that unfamiliar language. But it didn’t matter, because I spotted the very remedy I sought.
Pointing to the bunch I wanted, the seller and I exchanged money for dry, rustling flowers. The moment I had them, I popped a blue, star-shaped blossom into my mouth.
The seller gifted me a surprised look.
Powder puffed across my tongue, tasting like the sky and rainwater. I sighed with relief.
Miming eating and then throwing up, the seller said a strange word that I guessed meant ‘poisonous.’
“Oh, is it?” I asked, crunching down on another flower. “Huh.”
Recognizing my language, he said, “Make trouble?”
I shook my head, feeling so much better already. At least I could see him now without a blurry film over my eyes. “Not at all.”
Smiling tightly at me, the seller made a ‘stay there’ motion and walked off toward a nearby herbalist. I took the opportunity to slip away before someone decided to pump my stomach.
Besides, the flower had made me drowsy. I needed a nap.
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