Flowers of Mondstadt
I do not own anything recognizable save for the fanfiction and my OC, Suzuhana Shiho. Plagiarising and/or copying without express consent from the author makes Ganyu take more overtime.
Some info about my OC: her name is Suzuhana Shiho, and she’s currently living in Mondstadt as an alchemist specializing in poisons and toxins. She has a Dendro Vision and uses a bow; cause suffering amirite? Hahaha. :(
Warnings: (Just in case) Drinking, forced regurgitation, descriptions of puke, blood, OOC probably, ANGST, also this is an OC x character fic.
She smiled so widely when Lumine proudly brandished a pouch with glaze lilies. While she had lived in Liyue for a length of time, Shiho had not been able to intensively study the specialty flowers due to their rarity. Even the ones planted in Yujing terrace were few and already highly coveted, so getting one was a challenge in and of itself.
“Did you fence off the entire Yujing terrace to get this much?” Shiho asked jokingly. As she had traveled with Lumine before, it would not come as a surprise if the Traveler found it in some obscure Domain.
The glint in Lumine’s eye suggested that she could do that, but later off she waved a dismissive hand. “There’s some in Qingce village. Though I was told that they’re nothing compared to the ones that used to grow in Dihua Marsh.” She looked to the side and her smile was notably sad.
“Did something happen?”
She could not claim to be incredibly close to Lumine so there was uncertainty in her tone, but Shiho backtracked. “Ah. Never mind. Thanks for giving me the flowers. Let me know if you need help.”
Her smile was bright and golden as she nodded and made for the door. Outside, Shiho heard a familiar voice:
“Were you planning on making me wait all day, Honorary Knight?” Kaeya asked teasingly as he stood before the door of Shiho’s apartment.
“It hasn’t even been fifteen minutes,” Lumine answered in exasperation. “But yeah. Are you alright for a trek to Liyue?”
Kaeya chuckled and then his eye focused on Shiho, who he seemed to have not noticed until now. “Are you joining us?”
She shook her head in response and gestured to the mess of books and papers on her desk. “I have a bunch of ingredients to test and experiments to do after that foray in Dragonspine.”
“Ah I see.”
Lumine turned back to Shiho and said her goodbyes before ushering Kaeya out. “Alright. Time to go.”
The door closed behind them, but even through her window, Shiho could hear them bickering and chuckling. She spared one glance at the two of them walking off and Kaeya was softly ruffling Lumine’s golden hair, causing her to glare at him half-heartedly. The Cavalry Captain chuckled before walking ahead.
A scratchy sensation suddenly overcame her throat and Shiho moved away from the window to cough it out. Later on, it suspiciously felt like something was lodged in her throat, making her gag as tears sprung into her eyes.
When she at last spat whatever was clogging her throat, Shiho took several lungfuls of air and a glass of warm water.
It was covered in spit tinged with blood, but the puffy seeds were too distinct to be mistaken for anything else. Perhaps the wind brought it inside and Shiho did not notice that she had inhaled it.
With that she closed her window and continued with her work.
Lumine started snorting and giggling uncontrollably into her glass of apple cider juice and Shiho could not help but shoot a dirty look at Venti’s direction. Unfortunately the bard was occupied with capturing the ears and eyes of the local patrons of Angel’s Share.
The two of them had gone to Wolvendom to help Razor get rid of some Hilichurl camps. Both women had a soft spot for him, especially since he had taken to calling them his lupical. It had been an exhaustinf day and they had run into Venti who suggested a drink at the Angel’s Share.
“Hey Lumiiiiiiiii!” Paimon slapped the Traveler’s red cheeks, but was met with incoherent mumbles. “She’s out cold.”
“Can’t be helped then…” Shiho shrugged as she placed some Mora on the table. “Thanks for the drinks, Charles.”
The bartender expressed his concern over the two of them so Paimon piped up, “Paimon will ask someone for help! Lumi’s staying in the Favonius headquarters for now.”
Just thinking about the amount of steps she would have to climb up made Shiho chuckle nervously. “That’s good. I can take her outside so she can breathe in some fresh air.”
It was thankfully cool outside and though Lumine was hardly in any state to walk on her own, Shiho had no difficulties bringing her to a nearby bench. She was plotting on lacing Venti’s drink with some windwheel aster extracts to embarrass him on his next performance when Paimon’s voice easily broke the silence.
“Heeeeeeeeeeeeey! Paimon brought help!”
“Help? I feel like a babysitter or something.”
Shiho rationalized that the goosebumps that erupted on her flesh were due to the cold and not the fact that Kaeya was walking towards them.
“And? Who do I have to thank for this?”
“Guess…” Paimon crossed her arms across her chest and threw him a blank look.
With a chuckle and a brief nod of his head, Kaeya greeted Shiho. This time she flushed and it was such a foreign sensation. She was well aware that she held some admiration for the Cavalry Captain, but her reactions, in her opinion, were a bit too much for that.
When she was young, Shiho had once skinned her finger while climbing a tree. The wound itself was negligible and had no risk of infection. However it hindered her and would send small pinpricks of pain whenever she pressed too hard on it. She was feeling the same sensation now as Kaeya reached over Lumine and carried her into his arms.
Paimon chattered in the background, but Shiho was distracted by the sound of blood rushing in her ears and the itchy feeling at the back of her throat. Before she could stop herself she started coughing.
“Are you okay?” Paimon asked, gliding towards her.
“Y-yeah…” she answered, supressing the next cough despite the burning in her lungs and her throat from whatever was lodged there. “It must be the chill… Tell Lumine I’ll see her…”
She continued coughing all the way home and even as she heaved and gagged to force whatever was stuck in her throat out, it stubbornly exacerbated the itching and burning.
Something feathery brushed the back of her tongue and when she finally spat it out, Shiho was once again greeted by the sight of a dandelion. It was covered in more blood than the previous one and she could not think of when she could have accidentally inhaled it.
Washing the barely recognizable flower down the drain, Shiho exhaled as the tightening sensation in her chest was alleviated. Her mind, as it was prone to doing, rushed through the possibilities.
In both instances Lumine was involved, though she doubted the Traveler would want to harm her in any way. She was too sweet and kind for that, and Shiho prided herself in her observation skills. If anything was wrong with Lumine it was that she was too much a workaholic. But knowing that she was doing everything she can to find her brother justified that.
Kaeya was also there in both instances, but she doubted he would try to actively harm her. He was suspicious of her interest in Khaenri'ah, but that did not warrant attacking her like this, did it? In the first place, Shiho could not think of him being capable of something cruel and needlessly complicated as coughing flowers.
Another coughing fit came over her and this time, Shiho stuck a finger into her mouth, making the dislodging process faster. Similar to the one earlier, a dandelion coated in blood fell to the sink and she washed it down.
While the coughing fits subsided now and then, Shiho found them becoming more frequent. More dandelions also came out and eventually, breathing became dificult during these times. She had limited her foraging ventures, at least until she started feeling better. As it was, even making her way up to the Favonius headquarters to help Sucrose with her research was a chore.
“Um… You look a little pale…”
“Hm? Well… I haven’t been going out as much,” Shiho replied as she gathered some whopper flower extracts. She smelled mist grass somewhere to her right and curiously looked at the purple packet. “Where’d you get the mist grass, Sucrose?”
“Oh!” She squeaked and turned to Shiho, breathing a sigh of relief when she saw that it was not opened or shaken. “I got it from a cicin mage yesterday. Mister Albedo told me he might need some mist grass samples so I kept it for him.”
Usually, Sucrose stayed at the headquarters to arrange documents, jot down findings, or conduct more experiments. It was not as if she never went out, but those instances were pretty few and far between. “Alone?”
Albedo was quite adamant about keeping his students and appretices safe. It was amusing to see him dote over Sucrose who would respond with a stutter and a blush covering her face.
“Ah… No. I was out… I was with Acting Grand Master Jean and Captain Kaeya…”
The rest of Sucrose’s words were drowned out by the mounting pressure in Shiho’s chest and throat. As carefully as her trembling arms could allow, she placed the samples on a desk and made for the nearby sink.
The tickling and itchy sensation she was used to was gone and instead of a dandelion, a silky petal slid out of her mouth. The smoothness of the ordeal surprised her as much as the lingering bitterness at the back of her tongue. Shiho glanced at the petal which, after cleaning it of blood and spit, had a red orange hue and it was angled to the side.
“Miss Shiho! A-are you alright?” Sucrose’s voice suddenly filled her ears, and Shiho just noticed the hand gently rubbing her back up and down.
“Yeah… Just some allergic reaction…” she trailed off.
Well, that ruled out that Lumine. And it was relieving to say the least. Another coughing fit; another petal. This time she felt the stem meet some resistance at her throat and by the time it was out, she was panting and her ears were ringing. Sucrose’s hand was gently rubbing her back and while she apreciated the gesture it helped little in easing the burning in her lungs.
She did not remeber moving away from the sink and sitting on one of the more comfortable chairs in the lab. Shiho found that the flower petal was in her hand, and the stem that was caught in her throat was actually what made it bend at an angle.
“Throwing up flower petals isn’t exactly normal,” Shiho said dejectedly. Despite her timid nature, Sucrose was perceptive so the chances of her not finding out were slim.
“Th-that’s true yes… But whatever this phenomenon may be, I am sure we can run some tests to achieve empirical evidences,” she said resolutely. “I’m sure Mister Albedo will be more than willing to help.”
Shiho could not help but smile at Sucrose’s enthusiasm. “Alright. I’ll record everything I can in the next few days.”
Albedo’s clinical treatment of Shiho’s bizarre situation was refreshing. Two weeks of coughing petals, which she later found out were windwheel asters, and she was confined to staying at home. She could still do research but had to rely on adventurers for additional ingredients.
At some point, she had tried analyzing the windwheel aster petals she coughed out. And they had no significant difference from normal asters that Sucrose brought in. Those findings were included in her notes, which Albedo was now studying.
“Fascinating. As the petals you have spit out have no discernible difference with natural windwheel asters, it could almost be assumed that the inside of your body could be similar to its usual habitat.”
Shiho tried to laugh; she really did. But all she could manage was a horribly choked sound. “Are you going to try and cultivate dandelions and windwheel asters from inside my body now? How is it even growing there?” She pondered aloud. “No soil, no sunlight, no wind…”
Albedo looked pensive as he put down a book with a purple leather cover. “This is mere conjecture and hardly conclusive, but a legend spoke of mankind being molded from soil.”
“Didn’t take you for someone fanciful, professor.”
“When faced with something this fanciful and improbable, one must look at all angles and, through the process of elimination, determine which conclusion is the most logical.” Albedo grabbed one of the papers where Shiho had scribbled her observations. “Aside from the obvious theowing up of windwheel aster petals and a previous record of dandelions, your symptoms now include chest pains and difficulty breathing. We can perhaps conclude that the… specimen is in your lungs, or at least somewhere close enough to cause breathing difficulties.”
“So the plant is somewhat of a parasite? Seeing as it hasn’t been giving me any help.”
Albedo gave Shiho a pointed look which she shrugged at. “Regardless, studying your condition beyond legends and hearsay appears to be out of our hands at the moment.”
“Why?” It surprised Shiho that it sounded like Albedo, chief alchemist of the Knights of Favonius would throw the towel. Thought that he had to rely on a legend in the first place said a lot.
“First, I would like to ascertain some facts,” he replied, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the table behind him. “One: your genealogy. Your mother hails from Inazuma correct?”
“And you are predisposed to favoring a particular individual?” When Shiho just stared at him questioningly, he backtracked: “Ah that is: you are in love with someone correct?”
Blinking, Shiho could hardly reply. Her mouth opened and closed several times before she settled on: “Did you have to word it so awkwardly?”
He gave her an enigmatic smirk with his half-lidded eyes. “Who’s to say?”
To be honest, even though her father had always spoken about loving her deceased mother; so much so that he had chosen to take her last name. She supposed his devotion could be interpreted as love, but that hardly felt like conclusive evidence to adopt it as her own. It might be her own stubborness fueling this, but she had no time to dwell on that right now.
“Does my condition say that I’m in love?”
At that, Albedo handed her the purple leather-bound book he had placed on the table behind him. “There is a disease called hanahaki that was widely recorded amongst those from Inazuma. It is called a curse and is based on several mythical beliefs, but as far as I’ve read, its symptoms are consistent with yours. Coughing out flower petals, difficulty breathing, connection to Inazuma, and a progressive weakening of the person’s physical state. The source, however, is merely stated to be unrequited love.”
“Ah… Well then I guess it is kind of accurate,” Shiho replied. “I can’t tell if it actually is love, but I know I admire the person and I, to quote you, am predisposed to favoring this certain individual.” She did not need to say it was not reciprocated. Captain Kaeya’s nature and lack of empathy would rule out any favor or affection for her.
Another coughing fit came over her and this time, it was more severe than the previous ones. Several blood-stained petals fell from her mouth and what itching sensation the dandelions and the first of the windwheel aster petals evoked was replaced by a violent searing pain in her chest and throat.
After a glass of water and some salt crackers to appease her stomach, Shiho asked: “You said that researching this hanahaki was not possible?”
“Beyond literature yes. It is because of recorded treatments,” Albedo answered and his face looked a bit sour and disinterested. She could imagine how he preferred to get over this particular subject. “The plant is connected positively correlated with the person’s unrequited feelings.”
“I appreciate you staying here and talking about fanciful things even though they’re not really your cup of tea,” Shiho sighed as she leaned against the back of her chair.
He shrugged. “I will not deny having some form of attachment to this, having invested some time and effort to learn this much. What’s more, you are a colleague and much can be gained from our discourses.”
A smile spread on Shiho’s face until her eyes landed on the glass bowl she kept beside her at all times to catch the petals she spat out. The petals were different now; they were no longer bent at an angle. It was shaped like a teardrop and had none of the windwheel aster’s thick and angled stem. Despite the blood that coated it, Shiho could make out that the tip was a deep shade of red orange and it turned into a lighter shade as it went on. Shiho somehow knew what flower this was.
Not minding the blood and spit, Albedo grabbed the petal between his fingers, and studied it with a finger pressed to his chin. His eyes met Shiho’s and that was when her suspicions were confirmed.
It was a calla lily.
Shiho stared at the corked vial Albedo had left yesterday. Beside it was the book he had brought. It turned out to be a book about myths and legends of Inazuma, but her exact condition, the hanahaki disease, was recorded there multiple times. She appreciated the help he and Sucrose had given her at this time.
But now she had to help herself.
According to the book, hanahaki was positively correlated with feelings and emotions brought up by unrequited love. It felt like something neither Albedo nor herself would think to be noteworthy, but here she was coughing petals of three different flowers. At some point she had just decided to accept that.
Should the unrequited feelings be resolved, the disease would be gone. Currently her choices were confessing or the herbicide in the vial Albedo had left that morning. That Shiho was coughing out three different flowers already meant that it was only a matter of time before the plant in her chest killed her. She was already confined to her bed after her latest coughing episode made her vision go black. Everything hurt and felt numb save for the beating of her heart and the searing pain in her chest every time she breathed.
The herbicide, as the book said, would kill the plant inside her. But with it would be the death of Shiho’s feelings for Kaeya. He would be like any other person whose company she enjoys, like Albedo, Sucrose, and Lumine.
There would be no butterflies, no floaty, airy, and pleasant feeling every time she would coincidentally meet up with Kaeya to fight a recently reawakened Ruin Guard. What precious little of their banter would feel bland and uninspired.
Her throat burned at the thought of Kaeya and several blood-stained calla lily petals joined the ones already on the floor beside her bed. Tears fell from her eyes as it continued and by the time it was over, she was trying to breathe properly.
If she were being honest, Shiho was unsure if this stubborness was something she had decided for herself or a representation of what she had seen with her father. There was probably no time to ponder that.
She could, of course, just confess. But all this time she had been avoiding that. Sure Kaeya would flirt and tease and exchange banter with her, but she doubted he was actually ready for a relationship. Yes she was afraid of his rejection, but she was also afraid of pressuring him with her affections.
Before she could stop it, there was another coughing fit and the pain in her chest had roared into a raging inferno. Everything was blurry and she found herself on the floor, writhing in pain as calla lily petals continued to burst from her mouth.
As soon as the room stopped spinning and her ears stopped ringing, Shiho felt incredibly exhausted. Time was dwindling and before she could even think about making a decision, there was a knock on her door.
“Ah…” she sighed to herself. “What I’d give for more time…”
It surprised her how clear her mind was to even remember that she had posted a couple of commissions for the Adventurer’s Guild for some flowers. As soon as it became clear a week ago that she was in no condition to step out of Mondstadt, Shiho had gone and posted commissions.
It surprised her even more that when she opened the door, Captain Kaeya was there.
“Hello,” he greeted. “I heard you were looking for some cecilias?”
Her heart twinged and despite the pain in her chest, Shiho managed a smile. “Ah… Yeah… Haven’t been feeling too well lately…”
Anyone who saw her face could tell that. Kaeya’s eye narrowed. “Caught a bug?”
“Hmm… Yeah.” Her smile faltered and everything started to get overwhelming. Her throat was closing up, her chest was burning, and she was indescribably happy and sad to see Kaeya. “Sorry I-,” a cough stopped her short and before she knew it, she was trying and failing to cover the bloodied petals coming from her mouth.
“Hey are you alright?” His hands came to her shoulders and before Shiho could get her flowers and send him away, he was already in her home.
Ah well. Secret’s out now.
Shiho felt the familiar surface of her plush chair catch her as Kaeya’s arms left her. The coughing was not stopping and breathing was a chore. Tears were streaming down her face from the pain and she was just tired.
His blurry figure came to stop in front of her and he gently pried her hands away from her lips. The petals fell onto her lap wetly, covered in blood and spit. As soon as he let go of her hands, they fell limp to her sides and Shiho fell forward.
Ah… What I’d give to have more time…
Yes. That is the end of my OC’s debut fic.
Gah I’m so nervous about it. I feel like I made Albedo to OOC or something. Lemme know if that’s the case cause ugh… I just tried to make him sound smart with all of my statistics knowledge.
Apologies to Filipino peeps who had flashbacks when they saw ‘Isa’. I was running out of ideas and just went YOLO on it. :3