Story prompt for Writer's Crossing
"Madam, please, it is bee season, you must be cautious!"
The window slid shut in my face, slamming into its frame with a noise that made my ears ring. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath in, trying my best to keep my anger down. The urge to swat my buttler with the flyswatter besides me was intense. Finally, I set down my pen, and turn to address him.
"Jeeves, I've told you before, I need to RELAX in order to WRITE. You keep doing this to me just as inspiration is beginning to strike me! This is the FIFTH time I tried to write this particular scrap, and I counted, and every single time you find some way to interrupt me!"
The muscular jackal stood composed, his butler posture truly impeccable.
"Madam, I understand that you are writing, but you must keep your safety in mind as well. Do I need to remind you of your allergy?"
"I know the allergy perfectly well, Jeeves, you only remind me of it every waking moment I come within thirty feet of a window! Why do you think I brought a flyswatter and epinephrine to the table?" I gestured to the flyswatter and medi-pen on my desk.
"Madam, my duty is to protect you, therefore I will-"
"Your duty is to SERVE me, Jeeves, and that includes protecting me UNTIL I tell you to stop! And for the time being, I'm ordering you to let me face my own damned risks! I can handle any of the damned bees that dare come near the establishment."
Jeeves stuttered for a moment, his eyes darting between me and the window behind me. I could tell he was trying to come up with a way to justify him continuing to coddle me as I'd just commanded him not to. So, I gave him the scowl. That scowl he knows all too well that means he's disappointed me intensely. Instantly, what composure he had left him, whatever ridiculous conflict between obeying and disobeying dying down in that moment. With a curt bow, he simply bids me "Yes, madam, I apologize." and leaves me be. Still dwelling on the sheer annoyance of it all, I slide the window back up, letting in the warm spring breeze, the smell of flowers and pollen. Finally, a chance to relax again.
Gently, I lift my pen from the table and I begin to write. The thought begins to enter my head for the sixth time now, and i let my hand move on its own. The smells of this fresh spring air always give me the greatest inspiration; my poetry is never better than it is right now. The scents are all so palpable; it's almost as though I'm out there, among the fields, not a care in the world about those foul bees. The fragrant perfume of mother's hellebores, all surrounding me in their flowerbed, warm and soft scents assailing me from every direction but below. From there, the faint musk of pollen rises to envelop me, growing stronger as the warm scent coats my body in that powder that gives flowers life. As I sink lower, another scent jabs me, sharp and sweet, the intense flavor of nectar, mixing with pollen and melding together into a silken blanket of scents, coating me in bliss as the spring breeze carries me away...
Then, something different. The scent of painted wood, as rough and unpleasant against my nose as the touch of the worn wood itself. Then another smell, mighty, commanding, as loud and imposing as the voice of my own father. For a moment, I can't help but miss him, and the commanding aura becomes solemn, melancholy, the emotions of the smell washing over me and overwriting my own... But then, I notice something else, something beneath the inquisitive armoa. Something fuzzy... sweat?
As I come to my senses, I look down at my arm, and there it is. A bee. A tiny, wretched bee, whose stinger I've been kept safe from for as long as I can remember. No longer do I smell curiosity, now the scent is one of panic. Bright, streaking panic, like flashes of lightning through the night sky, filled therein with a command to attack, and so attack I shall. My hand moves almost on its own, snatching up the flyswatter as I wind back and let it-
Your Majesty, what are your orders?
I hesitate. Despite my panic, I cannot help but notice that the bee is not moving. It must have been there for some time. If it wanted to sting me, it likely would have by now. Perhaps swatting it wouldn't be the best course of action, perhaps in its death throes it would see me as a threat to the hive and attack, perhaps I could accidentally drive its stinger into my own arm and inject the poison into myself. Maybe it will just fly off of my arm.
You wish for this one to take flight, Your Majesty?
Where are these thoughts coming from? No, don't think about that, I have to focus on this bee. I need to be calm. Bees can smell fear pheromones, and are programmed to attack when they do so. I just need this one to fly off...
Yes, Your Majesty.
With that, it takes flight, leaving me effectively beeless. Finally at liberty to panic, I spring up from my chair, nearly knocking it over as I leap away from the desk, flyswatter at the ready. As I breathe deep, the bee simply hovers there, watching me. Th elatent panic-scent screaming through my mind slowly bleeds away, replaced with an overwhelming curiosity, shining over me with a cool glow. If only I could know what was going on here...
We have been searching for you for years. Many homes were built and destroyed in the pursuit of your leadership. Your hive has found you at last, Your Majesty; our minds are your mind, your will is our will. Please, give us our queen.
Our... queen? Is that me? The queen? A queen of bees? No, I could never be a queen of bees. Why would I be queen of something I'm allergic to? This doesn't make sense, I... I don't know what to make of it all.
Your majesty, you are not allergic to us. We would never harm our queen.
Slowly, the feeling of questioning mixing with breeze of calm and wonder, I approach the hovering bee. I extend my hand for it to perch, and it does so in an instant. So simple, so natural. For it to crawl to my soldier, like a wizard's familiar... And it does so, the moment I think of it. At my silent command, it takes flight once again, hovering in the window frame.
Yes, I see now... I know now. I know what must be done. It is time for the hive to have a new home. The bee leaves, off to gather the rest of the hive, as the many-faceted scent of flowers fills my senses again. Nettled iris, pansy, crocus, all along the path out from the mansion, the smells finally fading as the bee passes far away, its senses no longer transmitting to my own. As I sit back down at my desk, one thought prevails over all others.
Your queen has come.