It was the usual boring day. Blue panels glowing in their usual dim luminescence. Buildings with so many semi-transparent, big windows and little non-glass material that it felt a bit uncomfortable thinking what if someone could spy you from outside, but you know that wouldn't happen. Each building your eye can see out of the window is full of children of many ages, the building's design is made for efficiency in how many children could fit in them. They tower high enough to sometimes wonder how many people could fit inside each of these big, blue rectangular prisms. You don't even know how many there are on this small planet in the first place, you can only imagine how many kids have to listen to such eye-rolling material from their teachers too. Thinking about it, most rooms here are of very similar geometric shapes and sizes, you bet all of them are just as quiet despite having the voices of teachers reciting their already written lectures and the occasional clicks and cheap sound effects from their electronic presentations.
No one here actually cares about what they're doing. The adults don't care or have passion in what they do, to teach, to direct, to lead others. No, they just can't bring themselves to have an ounce of something driving what they do other than the fact that they have to. The kids here have no real reason to strive for anything, the lessons have no real meaning other than to show how great the company that owns this planet is. It's just tests. Homework. Lessons. A worthless indoctrination. It's all they know. The only thing you have to do is obey and be normal. Ha. But it's just so hard for some people to be normal, isn't it?
There was a time that normalcy wasn't a problem, you were okay. You had friendships, had an actual best friend and people treated you fine and well. Respected you like the human being you are.
Ava was your friend. She was THAT best friend. You were so happy back then and it felt like you two could do whatever with the world as long as you two were together, it didn't matter that the place you were at sucked! Or that you couldn't even remember your parent's faces! Everything was about the present, sometimes even the future. Maybe you could get out of this awful, monotone planet and see the outside, have a purpose and be surrounded only by people that loved you, like your friends.
Things aren't the same as back then. You loathe the thoughts you had back then, to think that was how you saw things.
The idea that you could have even liked Ava a little makes you want to dig your nails into your arm in a mixture of horror and contempt for yourself, you're doing it right now because you just can't help yourself from doing it. You snap yourself out of it. Reaching that same hand into your jean's pocket, you grab a green mint-flavored bubblegum and unwrap it using the fingers of one hand, throw it in your mouth and start chewing. The teacher keeps on repeating the same concepts as a few minutes ago but with graphs and doesn't even eye at you for chewing gum in class. It's not disruptive, it's preventing you from sleeping in the middle of class!
You look around nonchalantly, then at your own empty desk. To think some of the students here even bother with taking notes when it won't achieve anything... You couldn't think of something as useless and pointless to do with your time than that. Even if you actually had interest in what the teacher was saying and trying to drill in your head, it still wouldn't change the fact that if you put in effort, you'd still fail to understand anything. What else could you do? Hmmm. Oh. You see Ava with her old little journal made of aged paper filled with her doodles. As decent as they are, you still see those drawings as awful just because they're made by Ava.
Pop. You start playing with the gum in your mouth. You're so bored. Maybe you should draw. Maybe when you draw, Ava will be intimidated by you even more. You could draw so much she won't want to draw anymore because you do it and she won't have anything to do anymore. That makes no sense. But you do it anyways because you just have nothing to do and you want to have a one-sided competition against Ava. Oh, how she makes your blood heat up from rage, so much anger that your blood pressure actually rises. You'll show her.
There's a bag that belongs to you that's on the floor, so you reach into it searching for paper. You draw very circular and soft shapes on it. And you make another figure made with sharp shapes made of thicker lines and of clearly larger size than that of the soft, round figure. Make little x shapes for the round shape's eyes. This is too juvenile. But you put in bold letters "I Hate You!". You let off some steam in such a childish way, you can't even take yourself seriously anymore. You're not a child anymore despite what the teachers say, being a pre-teen means you have to be mature. But you feel a sense of accomplishment anyways, maybe even some pride?
The seemingly long class finally ends. There's a break. It's a time when students can pretend to have a life of their own and like they have a choice in what they do with it, that it's not just an illusion so you don't protest spending more time filling your mind with information you won't need force-fed to you.
You decide that you didn't do that drawing for nothing, you're gonna pin it in your room, you're gonna have your own thing in that room and not have to only see a bunch of your roommates' stuff related to fake academic achievements. "The most complacent". "The most obedient". You're surrounded by people like that in that bedroom. People that don't even want to acknowledge this planet's education and everything else in it is pointless even though a part of them already knows that. No one here actually takes you seriously anymore, one of the many reasons being your attitude. But you don't care anymore about that in the same way no one cares about anything of importance here.
What makes you someone that's not normal? It's deeply connected to your hate and why you have so much hate. It might seem petty, but it's not. People treat you like garbage and the person you cared about most in the world when you were younger betrayed you. You're already adjusting your art piece on the wall when your eyes narrow and you have an intense look of disgust and hatred.
"Why? Why would someone aim to ruin your life like that? To make you think they cared about you in a way that no one did? To be your best friend just to hurt you? To pull your hair and blame you for everything? To be the reason you almost truly died? How could someone be that cruel?" These thoughts echo in your mind.
Your teeth clench as you're deep in thought with the same feelings and questions for the millionth time. The answer is obvious to you. Because they're an awful person. There's no doubt about it. No one but an awful person would do that EVEN if they were messed up in the head. Ava is weird in her own way, not normal. She ruined your life and no one truly likes you anymore, no one treats you like you want to be treated and even pays mind to what you say. Everyone knows you used to be friends with such an awful person, her only friend. People still associate her with you.
You get out of your room seconds after your roommates come in. You decided not to pin it on the wall just as they came in, it's just too embarrassing to do that for so many reasons. You don't need more trouble than necessary and prodding questions from others on why you would put something like that on such a ~pristine wall~ or even why your drawings are so bad. You hid it somewhere where no one would find it.
You go outside. Go around the identical buildings and walk on the relatively clean looking floor.
"I was so gullible," you think as you stroll around and end up at the artificial park with vibrant grass and flowers. "How could I have believed her façade? It was so obvious! I should have just broken off our friendship the moment she even said those things to me! She was never actually sorry, she just wanted to take advantage of me..." Even though it seems hard to believe, you've actually been thinking less about this each passing day.
You go deeper into the park where there are long trees that are so much taller than you and loom above you with their captivating shades of green. It's so nice. You feel like you're small again. This is your favorite place, you used to hang out with Ava here all the time and play with all your friends. Even though Ava isn't your friend anymore, you still regard the place in a positive light for some reason. You aren't thinking about Ava anymore right now. It's the only calming place around here that isn't made of a bunch of blue! It looks like a happier and brighter version of your mind space actually.
Dull sunshine hits your skin as you lay down on the grass and you enjoy it. You feel so sleepy. The class must have gotten to you and made you tired, you held off from taking a nap at the time. No one would actually question someone sleeping in the middle of a park like this. You've done it before after all, at most you've gotten comments on how it's not very proper to do it but you don't get any actual consequences because you aren't doing anything bad like "disrupting the learning environment". It's just so much more calming and less stuffy and small than the bedrooms. You start dozing off with a small grin on your face.
You blink and the grass around you is darker than the one from a few seconds ago and the atmosphere is a little misty. A few small flowers here and there around the grassy field with the occasional tree.
You yawn as you stand up. "I have something nice to show you this time, Tuls! I'm becoming an artist just like you!" You say in a sing-song voice as you skip a little just to show you're actually a little happy, a little proud of your creation. Just to show off, you twirl a little and transform your dress to the light teal one you like wearing so much. You wanna look nice when you show him your doodle, so why not wear the dress with your favorite color? "Now. Where could you possibly be?" Feigning ignorance in a playful way, you guess the right door to go into on your first try.
It seemed Tuls wasn't in as bad a mood as usual this time as he hadn't groaned or summoned magical beings to keep you company instead of letting you see him. He usually meant well with the faeries and talking flowers, but it feels a bit lonely even with them there if Tuls wasn't there. A few paintings and drawings of Ranunculae adorned the walls on the other side of the door that lead to where Tuls was. The halls were otherwise empty if not for those paintings and they added a bit of charm. You stopped for a few seconds to look at them and you noticed that one of them was newer and even had fresh paint on it.
Tuls had a bunch of green leaves on his head that made up his "hair", the same color of your curls, but with blotches and spots of orange that made him look a bit odd but it was still the same Tuls. He had a piece of charcoal gripped in his huge clawed hand while pausing and examining his own creation. You knew he actually hated his own art, but maybe you could cheer him up with the art you made?
"Hey, there you are big guy!" You say in a cheerful tone.
He moves his eyes slightly to check your face and then continues looking at his drawing to drag the charcoal across the thick paper in a fancy manner. "Hi, Magnolia." He says in a voice with almost no inflections like he's being forced to say a greeting. He's not trying to be mean, he just feels like he HAS to finish his drawing.
"I noticed you're not as grumpy as usual? What's the occasion?" Feeling a little enthusiastic, you ask that to ease the conversation on your creation and to show that you actually noticed. A year is enough time to get to know a person and notice stuff like that. Especially when you share a mind like the both of you do.
A weak laugh comes from his mouth and after a long pause he utters, "I have a feeling that it won't be long until I'll confess." He looks at his drawing and has an expression on his face that looks almost like he's a little satisfied with what he drew on the paper. "It won't be long... Until I'll be able to tell Ranunculae... I love her."
You get a little nervous, "what makes you think that? Your tulip didn't work on that guy... He actually hated me, remember?"
He breathes in a little and smiles for a bit despite what you said, this surprises you.
"It's not that. I still have some magic left." He lays down his drawing on his lap and turns his head towards you. "I was getting impatient, but..." His eyes look a way for a few seconds and then looks at you again in a more soft gaze, "I think it will go better next time."
This is the most positive you've seen him in a long while. You wonder how such a downer like Tuls could actually be like this once in a while.
"The mind space looks better than usual." He comments, "You're doing better... You don't need my magic babysitting you as much." His choice of words makes you feel a little weird because you don't know if you should take that as a compliment.
"...Anyways. Ummm." You say suddenly so he won't say anymore weird compliments that make you feel like a toddler. "I have something to show you!" You think for a second and immediately say, "No! It's not someone else's cherished item! I don't need your love spell right now. I just wanted to show you..." You trail off as you motion your hands to your dress and pull it up in an unseemly manner just to open the door on your torso. "This. Ta da!"
The paper you take out of it is a little wrinkled and the drawing is made in pencil. Two figures, a short round one with x signs as eyes and a taller sharp one with an angry face pointing at the other figure. On the top were the words that made the drawing's purpose much more obvious, "I Hate You!" You make a grin as you show it to Tuls that make a great contrast to the content you're bringing to his attention.
He stares at it for a little while longer than what you expected. Your grin wears off and you begin to worry.
"Is there something wrong?" A question comes out of your mouth in a less cheerful tone and your face looks a bit more curious and worried than before.
A soft voice comes out of Tuls, "...Am I right to presume that's your friend and you?"
You move your head a little and become a little sheepish in a way that say "well, umm." Your eyes move around a little until they land on his face again, "You already know Ava isn't my friend. But yeah. That's her. Aren't you proud of my drawing! Don't you think I could be just as good as you!" A smile creeps into your face again until it becomes a full smile.
He takes an even longer time to answer this time, "...I suppose." His usual, not-very-expressive self seems to show a bit stronger. "You've spent a lot of time and thought expressing how much you hate this "Ava"... I'm surprised you've been feeling better."
You pout a little, he didn't compliment your drawing. Yeah sure, his art is based on his love for a princess and your art is... Not like that. It doesn't even look as good as his. You shouldn't have expected a bunch of positivity from him.
"But... You know what happened." You get a little sad. Your short, green curly hair frames your face in a more flattened manner almost as if it got wet. Your pout turned into a small frown. "It's just that..." You gulp a little and you try to figure out if you should say anything more, "...Why does no one love me?" You feel a little surprised by what you ended up saying. "I mean... Why does everyone not care about me and when they feel something towards me it's a bunch of negative stuff?" You get a little closer to him and slouch on his huge body like you would on a tree, a sentient tree you actually care about despite the usual image of self-confidence you try to show in front of others.
Tuls went stiff as you went closer but then just awkwardly patted your head. "Love is complicated... You don't always get it when you want it." He sighs, "You might just get hated even when that seems unfair..."
A silence grows between the two, then a tear rolls down your face, then only sound comes out from you, "Oh."
You have no more words and just stay there for longer and you stop being aware of how long you lean on him. He moves a little and continues working on the drawing on his lap. It seems as if he's ignoring you, but he's actually leaving a bit more space where you ended up at so you could see much more easily what he was doing even though his arms would usually block any sight you could have of the portrait.
When he's close to finishing, he finally says, "...Even after all of that. You are still capable of loving and wanting to be loved... Despite everything..." Then he lifts up the charcoal drawing to see it better. He looks at you briefly and then shows the art more clearly for you to see. A beautiful drawing of Ranunculae wearing a grin on her face that looked so genuine and made the small flowers surrounding her look much more radiant and pretty. "...You can still find someone to love." He seemed to try to cheer you up a little, even though he wasn't the type of person to do that well.
Him saying that made you much more hopeful on the idea of finding someone that you could love and wouldn't treat you as bad as the world did, to find a shelter in someone's heart. You deeply appreciated Tuls not being so depressing for once. You hated and resented, you could not forget or forgive, but that didn't mean your heart was as hard as stone or not worthy of love.
Maybe... The world was a bit more hopeful? Maybe... You weren't a fool to hope when you were younger? You don't know, but you can't get stuck on hating so much. You're gonna find the knight to your princess. You will, even if it's the last thing you do.