Illustration by Virginia Frances Sterret and comes from a book of French fairy tales.

Petaluna leaned carefully toward the Empath HuMangrove, the last surviving tree of the Investiture, every muscle in her body tensed to flee as the psychic emanations washed over her with images of their world’s pending cataclysm. Her hand reflexively reached for the pull to summon an acolyte though it was quite out of reach.

Her eyes narrowed to slits one moment in anger, and then opened fully the next in astonishment. “The council will never believe this. I must tell father,” she thought. “No, father won’t believe it either. I’m not sure I could credit this if I had not got it directly from the One.” She felt a stream of perspiration trickle down the narrow valley of her spine as she strained to break the connection.

There was just enough time left to assemble the Gardener’s and Apiarists, they had to move quickly. The collapse of the Royal Bee Colony would begin a cascade event that would end in extinction brought on by starvation. It didn’t seem possible.

Ninja drones were going to assassinate the Queen and if she died, the Royal Hive died with her. Crops would fail within a season, war and disease would expedite death. It was the prophecy of the four Wasps being played out in real life. 

Petaluna swooned. The tug of the Autumnal Equinox and the Harvest moon overpowered her gift and she lost consciousness. When she awoke, the One was no longer it’s Life-affirming blood red self, but as black and withered as an old vanilla bean. The fruits were desiccated and a frigid gale whipped through shatteted windows of the Lunarium.

“God’s, how long was I out of it, am I already too late?”

Just then she felt a stabbing pain in the palm of her hand. She unclenched her fist to find a HuMangrove seedpod. “Then there is hope yet, eh, Little One?”
M. Zane McClellan
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Jane Dougherty from Jane Dougherty Writes: Microfiction challenge # 25 The red tree