Book 3: The Ruby Rose
What is true love and what is the essence of a person?
Long ago, a beautiful country called Vitalonia flourished. It was one of the four great Classic Period kingdoms. The kingdom had everything in abundance, except love. For, thousands of years ago, the emotion of romantic love didn't exist.
Prince Vartan of Vitalonia had ruled but a few years before Princess Leyla, of the suffering kingdom of Anderdaine, came to beg his aid. The prince was always ready to help, but his counsel said he had to wed her for them to send aid. Everything was set and the marriage was soon to take place, but then Prince Vartan happened to meet a young palace maiden, a commoner gardener named Imogen. She loved flowers and tended to them with tenderness that touched him deeply. He grew curious about her and they quickly became friends, and then more.
The tenderness they shared transformed into something new, something unknown, something that bloomed for the first time in Prince Vartan's heart. As the prince could cause roses to grow and bloom, he reached forth and touched a rose and it turned red. This was the first red rose that had ever existed. What he'd felt for the first time was romantic love, and that love had turned the rose red.
Prince Vartan decided he couldn't marry anyone but her. But Princess Leyla, having witnessed their love, grew wrathful with jealousy and desperate for her ailing country. As a Mystic Artist herself, she could control vines and weeds. She caused thousands of thorny vines to rise up and choke Vitalonia.
As she ascended on Prince Vartan and his love, Imogen grabbed Prince Vartan's rose and pierced it into his heart. She begged his forgiveness and ripped it out of him. The rose turned into ruby and the stem of emerald. Imogen had taken her love's soul into the rose. Weeping, she entrusted all her energy into it to stop Princess Leyla. The rose was filled with their love, and that love cast Princess Leyla and the rose into The Void, a black dimension of nothing.
There was nothing left of Vitalonia when the crisis ended. Imogen and Prince Vartan were both gone, as well. Where they went, no one knows. Vitalonia never recovered, but love had permanently entered into the hearts of every creature on earth. Was such a sacrifice worth such a gift?
That's one of the repeated questions Niles Silva Elzey has to listen to in class. He doesn't think one way or another, except the Vitalonia story is an interesting, moral myth. A simple, optimistic person, he spends a good amount of his spare time as the college gardener tending to the hundreds of lovely flowers, plants, and roses. He often sees the plaque in the rose garden about Prince Vartan and his mythical sacrifice. Only, one morning, Niles notices something sparkly and red showing on the plaque. The dull, metal tip of the rose has been chipped away, and a dazzling red color is sparkling beneath!
Curious, he goes up and touches the red. The entirety of the metal cracks and reveals a rose made of ruby with an emerald stem! Niles decides to tell a campus staff member, but the rose levitates right in front of him! Then, it plunges down right into his chest! It's a fateful moment for Niles that sets in motion the continuation of those fateful years so long ago.