• In the center of the table was set a vase, clear as the air, and inside it rested a golden rose, limply drooping from a barren step.
    “Isn’t it beautiful?” asked Master, pointing at it with a ringed finger.
    “It’s dead.” Kylee shrugged and looked away.
    “Its body is dead, but not its soul. The flower lives on, as long as you let it.”
    “What do you mean? You—one of you— pulled it out of the ground, killed it. And now it’s nothing more than a decoration, standing there, lifeless, in a lifeless vase.”
    “No. To give something outer beauty is to give it inner beauty, a soul, and a life. You must learn to think like something that does not think, Kylee.”
    “Is this what it means, being an Underground?”
    “An Underground is not a human, you must understand that much. We have renounced life and now we simply are.”
    “And yet you give life to things that have outlived their time.” Kylee looked back at the flower.
    “You have much to learn,” sighed Master, “the meaning of beauty, for one thing.”
    “It’s dead.” Kaylee turned around and walked off without another word.