The City of Bees: Part II

An Espresso Tale

By

Accipiter G. Goshawk

The story continues from Part I...

Millions dug, while others brought their rock chips; all moved by the same intent, by the same purpose. The little shanty town was soon abandoned, as the mélissamancers – failing to control their charges – fled the gentle but inevitable deconstruction of their old homes.

Wood was repurposed; shingles were broken and reset. Pits were closed and fires doused by a thousand wings. Slowly, the town disappeared in a cloud of dust and sweet-smelling air.

In its place, the White City rose. The mélisses built it chip by chip, cementing it with their glue and polishing the stone with their wings and hooked legs.

As the sun rose above the mountains, so too did the City rise beneath the arch. Assembled on the plain and by the river, the people gazed in awe. Towers of white, curtain walls, long promenades lined with carefully transplanted flowers, airy homes and bubbling fountains: an incredible display of craftsmanship and power.

And love.

Throughout it all, the hummed song spread and rose in a choir of minuscule voices, swooping and sailing through the air, permeating the valley with emotion. Gratefulness for years of selfless service, adoration and care. Cold nights spent in defence of a few precious cubic centimetres of warmth, honey and wax. Years of painstaking observations, of sacrificed water and rations, now repaid in full.

The child was the first to enter the city, and the first to reach the palace in its centre.

They and they alone stepped on to the raised dais, uncaring of the millions of bodies swarming around it. The cloud seemed to part for them, then closed once more and for an hour, nothing changed within the great marble hall. Then, the mélisses left, and the child was revealed, sitting on a simple stool of carved wood and bearing a honeycomb diadem.

They were the first High Keeper in over five centuries. Through their counsel, the mélissamancers flourished and grew confident. Soon, some dared return to the world beyond the valley, carrying with them their precious wicker baskets. The world had all but forgotten them, and in time, they began to spread their blessings anew, unhindered by superstition or fear. However, they never revealed the existence or the location of the City and for many generations it remained hidden; a marvel of white marble, surrounded by humming and the gentle smell of life and honey.-

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