Glass tubes glinted in the afternoon sunlight pouring in through the front window. Each tube contained a bright colored liquid, several flower varieties soaking up the colorful water. Only, their blossoms were the wrong color.
As I examined them, yet another bloom changed, a pink carnation darkening to brown. I turned to the florist hovering nearby. “You’ve got prisms.”
Outside, laughter and shouting rang in the streets, this town’s spring festival in full swing. Yet the florist’s booth outside sat empty, a closed sign on the shop door.
The florist cast a nervous glance around. “Prisms?” he said. “What does that mean?”
“They’re eating the dye colors, stripping out different hues.” From my bag, I withdrew a fire starter. “We have to burn the infected flowers and boil off the dye water.”
A sigh escaped the florist, sending a sweet floral scent wafting around. “All of them?”
Nearby, an orange flower faded to bronze. “Did you buy dye from the Iad region?” I asked.
He nodded, cringing a little. Iad dye was cheap, but it could only be used on cloth, not plants. He knew better.
“Just the flowers in the Iad dye, then.” I knelt before his wood stove and struck the starter over a bunch of blossoms I’d piled within. The sparks caught and bright snaps of color appeared in the air, popping and hissing. One stung my cheek and I jerked my face away.
We burned half the shop’s inventory. Colorful smoke billowing from the stovepipe floated over the town like a glowing cloud, beckoning festival goers to the shop. Eventually, the florist had to unlock the doors to let people in, while I continued feeding the fire.
He sold all the rest of his un-dyed flowers that day, but he did so wearing a sad smile.
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