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“Remove your shirt,” Revus states frustratedly.
“Remove your shirt,” I mock, “You wouldn’t be saying that if you were in my shoes.”
Revus places his left hand over his face and, using his thumb and fingers, begins to grind his temples. “We’ve already been over this,” he complains, “I’m just treating your wings. Why are you making a scene?”
“Because it’s embarrassing,” I argue, glancing down at my chest. My breasts are getting bigger and… I direct my gaze at Revus and glare as I cover them.
Revus sighs, “I’m not going to peek at your chest, if that’s what you’re worried about.” He walks over to a stone bed with a fur pelt resting on it and, as he sits down, comments, “Besides it’s not like you have anything worth looking at.”
I feel my body heat up as my anger boils, I bellow, “Shut up jerk! Even if they’re small, I’m still getting used to having them.”
“I don’t care whether you’re used to them or not. Now get over here so I can treat your wings,” Revus declares, “Or would you rather I strap you down and forcibly remove your shirt?”
“Grrr.” As we glare at each other, I clench my fists tightly. This stupid jerk! “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Care to find out?” Revus inquires, lowering his head and raising his eyebrows.
I squeeze my fists, digging my nails into my skin. “Gah! You’re so unbearable.”
“Funny hearing that from you,” Revus comments, “I’m not the one making a fuss here.”
I look over at Faraine who is seated at the table. “Faraine,” I call out, getting her attention, “Would you say something to him?”
“Um… Well…” Faraine glances between the two of us, until her eyes land upon me, “I think you should let him treat you.”
“What? You’re on his side?” I shout. As I angrily extend my arm, pointing at Revus, an aggravating sting festers on either side of my spine. “Tsk,” I flinch in pain.
“See,” Revus notes, “You’re just making things worse for yourself.”
“Would you shut up!” I bark, directing my rage at the aggravating fairy.
“I understand your concern, but…” Faraine hesitates, “ you won’t be in as much pain and-”
“Fine,” I cut her off, “I get it.” I frown at her.
She bitterly chuckles, “Sorry, I know it’s-”
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“It’s fine,” I sigh, angrily. I turn to Revus and scowl at him, “Don’t look.”
“I’ve already treated your back a couple of times,” Revus remarks, “I don’t know why you’re making such a big deal about it today.”
“Because…” I mope as I look down. Dang it. Why do they have to get bigger? It’s making me conscious about them…
“Do you want me to make you a shirt that exposes your entire back?” Revus asks, scratching the back of his head.
I look up at him, “You’d do that?”
He nods his head, “That way you won’t have to take it off while your wings are recovering?”
“I’d…” I pause, turn away from him as I feel my face heat up, and quietly reply, “Like that…”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Revus states, “but before that…” He pats the white fur pelt. I defeatedly slog over to the bed, climb up onto it, and sit next to Revus. “Whenever you’re ready,” he says as he looks down at me.
“Yeah I know,” I snap, “Just, give me a moment…” I take a deep breath and exhale, before glancing down at my chest. I peek at Revus and hiss, “If you look, I’ll-”
“You’ll what?” Revus questions, “Get mad? Hit me?”
“Grrr,” I grumble, “Just, don’t look.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Revus mutters, waving his hand as he turns around.
I face away from him, remove my shirt, and lay down on my stomach, exposing my bare back. I slowly sink into the fluffy, white, rabbit pelt, feeling a slight pressure from my chest. Urh… If they keep getting bigger… I glance down at my chest. …then this is going to be more uncomfortable in the future. I sigh, cross my arms in front of me, and lay my cheek on my arms, allowing me to watch Revus. “Done…”
“Good,” Revus states looking at me, “ now try to manifest your wings.” He slides closer to me, places his hands together, and a yellow glow starts to radiate from them.
“But…” I hesitantly murmur, “It hurts when they-”
“I know, but I want to check their progress,” Revus bluntly states, emphasizing the word want. “Or,” He goads with a smirk, “Do you not care about what I want?”
“Fine, fine,” I whine. This is going to hurt… I close my eyes and try to manifest my wings. Immediately, a piercing pain stabs my back along my spine. “Tsk,” I wince as my muscles tense. Ow ow ow. “Please… hurry…” I mutter between clenched teeth, my breathing becoming erratic.
I feel Revus’ hands gently meet my back along with a smooth, calming energy that seeps in and slowly spreads throughout my body. As I lay there, the pain begins to subside, and my breathing lulls. “Ah…” I sigh.
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“I see…” Revus murmurs, “Prepare yourself.”
“Pre-” As I start to speak, a sudden pain shatters my comfort. “Argh!” I scream, clenching my teeth once more as my eyes begin to water. It feels like… my back is… being torn open… I force my eyes open and glare at Revus, “What are you doing? That hurts!”
“Sorry,” Revus blandly replies, “Your wings have started to regrow but…”
“But what?” I interrupt worriedly, gritting my teeth.
“The roots aren’t dispersing properly,” he answers, “So I’m forcibly correcting them.”
“Well… you could’ve at least… Tsk… Given me a warning,” I complain as a tear rolls down my cheek, “That… really hurts.”
“I told you to prepare yourself,” Revus remarks.
You told me at the same time you started… “Urgh,” I whimper as pain jolts up my spine.
Please get this over with already. “Ow!” I yell as I feel a pinching pain that runs up the sides of my back. It’s not going away… I peek at Revus and see his stern face, a bead of sweat rolling down his head.
“There,” he says, sighing heavily. Instantly, the pinching throughout my back subsides.
“Ahhh…” I huff, breathing fiercely. “I thought you… were supposed to… make the pain… go away?”
“Yeah well… We can’t have your wings regrow incorrectly,” He states.
“So… What is this about roots?” I question, “I thought-”
“If the roots connecting your wings to your soul are misaligned,” Revus interrupts, “Your wings won’t be as responsive, worsening your already shoddy flying.”
“I wasn’t that bad before… I had to stay inside for a month…” I wheeze, “And who’s fault was that?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Revus remarks, “You’re done. Now put your clothes back on.”
“Put your clothes back on,” I scoff, “Oh, aren’t you just the nicest person.” I sit up and slip back into my shirt. I glance at my back, an uncomfortable soreness present. “Why am I in more pain than before?”
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“Be glad we took care of it now,” Revus states as he gets up and walks over to our bags. As he starts pulling various items out, he continues, “If your wings had healed like that, we’d have to rip them off again to correct the roots.”
I stare at Revus dumbfoundedly, my mouth agape. “You’re joking, right?” Revus quietly continues rummaging through his bag. “Say something.” I blurt, but he remains silent.
I turn to Faraine and she bitterly smiles and nods.
“Seriously,” I glance at my back. Ripping them off… again… A shiver runs through me. I’d rather not go through that again… I direct my attention to Revus and say, “Sleeps, for… fixing them?”
“Sorry for hurting you,” Revus apologizes bluntly.
I shake my head and smile faintly. This guy. I walk over to him and ask, “What’re you looking for?”
“Since we’ve got roughly five more days of winter,” Revus says as he pulls a cylinder from his bag, “I was thinking about doing another drawing for your parents.”
“Oh, did you have anything in mind for a pose?”
“Yeah,” Revus faces me, “I thought they’d enjoy seeing you embarrassed.”
I take a step back and gulp. “W-what do you mean by that?”
Revus stands up, walks over to the table, and sits down. He opens the cylinder, pulls the contents out, and begins to examine them. “Tch,” he clicks his tongue, then agitatedly continues, “I was thinking of getting a picture of you showing off your wing-stubs.”
I follow Revus and join him and Faraine at the table. “Huh? But then wouldn’t they get mad?”
“I was told that if it was something they wouldn’t be able to see, to draw it but…” Revus sighs, “They might kill me for letting this happen though.”
“Then shouldn’t you draw something else?” I exclaim, “Like…” I look around and, upon glancing at Faraine, declare, “You could draw me and Faraine.”
Faraine jumps slightly as Revus turns to look at her. He mutters, “I could but, that’ll depend on whether she wants that or not.”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
“Because these are for your parents!” Revus bellows, “They may not have a lot of political power, but they’re still royalty. Put yourself in her position.”
I turn to Faraine and she looks away from me. “You don’t want to?”
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“Well… Can I think about it?” Faraine murmurs.
Revus puts the contents back within the cylinder, stands up, and begins walking toward the door. Before I can say anything, he states, “I’m heading out to get more supplies and to find something to make your shirt from,” He turns toward me and continues, “I checked the rest of the cave and it’s safe. You might find something interesting if you feel like exploring a bit, but leave some for me.” Exploring? I glance further into the cave at the lightless passage and back at Revus. Well, if he was trying to get me to go in there, he’s definitely succeeded.
He faces the door, but stops, “Oh, and Faraine.”
“Yeah?” she replies.
“Look after her while I’m gone, and consider what we talked about last night.”
“Yeah…” she mutters quietly.
My attention bounces between the two. What’d they talk about last night? Was it about me again or… Revus opens the door and a cold breeze rushes inside. “I’ll be back shortly.” As he steps out, his black wings appear, before he closes the door.
I look over at Faraine, her mouth open like she was going to say something. “Did you guys talk about me again?” I sullenly ask, resting my chin on the table.
Faraine glances at me for a moment, then looks away, “No, not about you, but me.”
“Oh? Well if he said anything rude, I apologize,” I comment, “He can be nice when he wants, but other times… he’s pretty blunt.”
“No, he wasn’t rude,” Faraine answers, “just straightforward.”
“Does he want you to do something?”
“He told me to seriously think about whether I still want to be a page.”
I sigh and look up at her. “Can I ask something?”
Faraine hesitates, then cautiously answers, “Sure.”
“Being a page is like a job, right?”
Faraine ponders for a moment, tapping her chin and looking up, “I guess it’s sort of a job, but-”
“Then what’s the difference between being my page and someone else’s page?”
Faraine furrows her brows and stares down at me, “Well…” She remains silent for a moment, “Probably… the skryver that you’re bound to is different.”
Then if I want to be friends with her, I have to be better than the other skryver… I look away from Faraine and stare toward the dark tunnel that extends at the end of the cave. “So what were they like?”
“The other skryver?”
“Ah… Minerva…” Faraine pauses, “She was… strict and domineering.” I raise an eyebrow and glance up at her. “She was harsh, arrogant, and she’d argue a lot…” Isn’t that bad? “…but she was hard-working and diligent. She’s ambitious, intelligent, and realistic, but most of all, she’s incredibly skilled…” Sounds like a hot-headed over-achiever… I bet she’s a pleasure to be around…
I look back toward the tunnel, and ask, “And you wanted to work for her?”
“Um…” Faraine fidgets around, covering her right elbow with her left hand, “Sort of…”
“How could you ‘sort of’ want to work for her?” I inquire, “If it was me, I’d go look for someone else.”
Faraine whispers something too quiet for me to hear.
I glance at her, “Can you say that again?”
“My parents…” she mumbles, barely loud enough for me to hear. What do your parents have to do with this? I sit up straight, keeping my sore back away from the chair. After a moment of silence, Faraine continues, “Can we… talk about something else? I… don’t want to-”
“Alright,” I cut her off and, as I point toward the dark cavern, ask, “Do you want to go for a walk with me?”
Faraine directs her attention to the lightless cave extension. “Are you sure? It’s fairly dark.”
“It’s not that bad,” I reply, “I used to live in a place much darker than this.”
Faraine looks at me blankly. “Can’t you go by yourself?”
“I can, but I’d rather have some company,” I state, “And even though Revus said it was safe, there’s no guarantee that something won’t happen.” I turn away from her slightly, then mutter under my breath, “After all, I seem to have a knack for getting into trouble lately.”
“No need to frown,” Faraine says with a smile.
Was I frowning? I shake my head, “Sorry, I’m okay.” I get out of my chair and begin walking toward the corridor. I glance at Faraine and affirm, “You can stay, I’ll be back later.” I look back into the rocky passage as I feel my heart pound against my chest. Although, I would prefer if she came.
I walk over to the wall, place my right hand against the cool stone, and tread further in. Even after being in here for a couple of days, my eyes still aren’t adjusting that well… It would’ve been nice if Faraine joined me. I sigh. She mentioned that people don’t like her before, and she seemed upset when she mentioned her parents… I glance back at our camp, see the faint light in the distance, then return my focus to the tunnel, and march onward.
I’m curious about why she brought them up, but… While keeping my right hand on the wall, I fidget with my hair using my left. I don’t want… Even now I can’t escape that word. I heave an exaggerated sigh and hunch forward, then stand up straight. I would like for Revus to pursue his wants. I don’t want… him to give up on them because of me. And I’d like to do that for others too, which means if they don’t want something, then I should leave it at that I guess… even if I want it. Selfish is fine, but not rude… or domineering like Minerva. I chuckle.
Oh, right. Since Faraine’s related to Novaraine, and she’s in charge of my siblings, then maybe Faraine’s met my siblings. I’ll ask her about them later. I smile as the path starts sloping up.
I continue hiking through the tunnel for several minutes. Is there really nothing here? The path along the wall turns left and right a few times while alternating between sloping up and down. Revus wouldn’t have told me to come in here if there was nothing, so… I look up, seeing nothing but darkness. Right… I reach my arm up, standing on my toes, and try to touch the ceiling. If it’s big enough then Revus probably flew through here, so I doubt it took him very long to go through here. I sigh and slump forward. I miss flying.
I trek onward, the only sound, my breathing. It’s so quiet… I glance to my left. If Revus were here, he’d have a light following us. Even Faraine can use fire to make it not so dark… I sigh. I wish one of them came with me. Going on this walk was meant to keep from getting bored, but now I’m getting lonely… I perk up and tilt my head. Actually, this might be the first time I’ve been lonely since Faraine’s joined us.
As I search the cavern, I kick a small pebble. Tink. The sound of the pebble echoes through the tunnel. Wow, that lasted longer than I thought it would… I grin, take a deep breath, and shout, “Hello!” As my voice reverberates loudly off the walls I smile faintly. I’ve never heard my new voice that clearly… It sounds nice. I feel my face flush. Why am I getting embarrassed about my own voice… I shake my head and take another deep breath. Okay now… “How are you?” The repeating silvery words resound throughout the cave. I smile. “I’m good, and you?” The question floats through the corridor, sweetly humming until fading out.
One more… “I want-” As I start to speak, I choke on my words, abruptly ending my sentence. The unfinished statement bouncing down the tunnel. I lower my head and tightly grip my pants. …to not be alone. I frown, stand up straight, and slap my cheeks with both my hands. Urgh, now’s not the time for this. I’m not alone. Revus and Faraine are here, but… I sigh. …I think I want my family. “Heh,” I chuckle roughly. I think I can understand Revus’ loneliness.
I continue on for a bit until I suddenly walk face-first into a wall. “Ow,” I whimper, rubbing my nose while tears form in my eyes. Guess I should be more careful. I turn to my left and, as I start walking forward, a soft echo reverberates through the cavern. What was that? I quickly look around, trying to find the source of the sound.
“…ta,” a weak voice resounds. Faraine? I furrow my brows and face the direction I came from. “Evetta… ca… y… hear… me?” Faraine hollers.
“Yeah,” I shout back, our voices echoing off the walls. I stare down the corridor until the walls in the distance start to get brighter, shifting from a pitch-black, to a deep gray. Light? I watch as the walls continue to illuminate to a dull gray, before a faint, red glow starts to radiate from them. A moment later, Faraine flies around the corner, a bright red flame held out over her left hand, painting everything nearby a shade of bright-red.
“There you are,” Faraine comments as she lands in front of me, “I’ve been looking for you.”
“Why? I thought you didn’t want to come.”
Faraine chuckles, “Um… Well, I heard you yelling, so… I thought…” her words trailing off.
I tilt my head, looking up at her, “Thought what?”
“Um… That maybe you were in trouble… or something…” Faraine replies, turning to look away from me.
“Ha,” I smile and take a step closer to her. I lean forward, twist my torso to look up at her face, trying to see behind her bangs, and tease, “Were you worried about me?”
“You don’t need to laugh,” Faraine grumbles, looking away from me, “Besides, Revus asked me to look after you.”
“Oh,” I exaggeratedly respond, “So, it’s because of Revus, huh?”
Faraine whimpers, “Mmm.”
“Haha,” I laugh, “Thanks for worrying, but Revus wouldn’t have let me come down here unless it was safe.”
“You’re welcome,” Faraine mutters.
I back away from Faraine, and glance down the now illuminated passage. The walls and floor of the tunnel are fairly smooth with only small pockets of rough terrain. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought. Pretty crazy how adding some light makes this tunnel seem so much easier. “Since you’re here,” I remark, looking back at Faraine while pointing down the cave, “Do you want to join me?”
“Well, I…” Faraine hesitates.
“Please,” I plead, “We don’t have to talk if you don’t want to, but at least having you light up the cave is a huge help.”
Faraine blankly looks down at me, blinking a couple of times, “You just want me to be your torch?”
I raise one eyebrow. “I’d prefer you to be Faraine so we can talk,” I answer, “but if you prefer just being torch then who am I to tell you otherwise.” I shrug my shoulders and feel a sore pain from my back. Ow… that hurt.
“What if I want to be Faraine but I don’t want to join you?”
“Well… I already told you that if you don’t want to come then that’s fine,” I say as I lower my head, “but… I’d like it if you joined me, since it’s kind of lonely.” I quickly face her, raising my index finger, and blurt, “Ah, you can even stay quiet if you want.” I smile faintly, “But just having someone here-”
Faraine sighs heavily, cutting me off, “Fine, I’ll join you.”
“You will?” I question.
“Yes,” Faraine states, “But if I don’t want to talk about something, then please-”
“Deal!” I exclaim. I grab Faraine’s right hand and, as I start walking further in, try to pull her along. Immediately, I am stopped as Faraine does not budge from her spot. I turn around and ask, “Well, aren’t you coming?”
“Hah, yeah,” Faraine murmurs, “Sorry, that caught me off guard.” She takes a step forward and, as we start moving, asks, “By the way, why were you yelling?”
“Oh that. I was playing with the sound. Like this,” I state, then take a deep breath and shout, “Revus is a jerk!” The melodic insult skips through the red-tinted cavern. “Much better,” I comment, smiling.
Faraine glances down at me and says, “I don’t think he’s that bad.”
“He may not be now,” I state, “but immediately after I was born, when I was learning to speak, he’d always get mad at me.”
“You didn’t know how to speak?” Faraine inquires, furrowing her brow.
“Ah, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” I correct, “I could speak, but I only knew Sveltish, and Revus wasn’t familiar with it.”
Faraine tilts her head and raises an eyebrow, “Zeviltich?”
“It’s okay. Revus told me it’s kind of difficult to pronounce,” I comment, “But, when I was learning Zoic, he would always jab my forehead and yell at me. He was infuriating.” Still can be… Faraine chuckles, her soft voice lightly echoing. “You should do one too,” I remark.
“Oh, no,” Faraine refuses, shaking her head, her blue hair shifting about, “My voice isn’t anything great, so it won’t sound good.”
I tilt my head and mutter, “My voice isn’t anything special either.”
“I think your voice is cute though,” Faraine blurts abruptly.
I feel my body and face heat up. Cute… I glance down at my body, seeing my breasts, and examine my limbs and clothes. Am I cute? My body temperature rises to its limit. I guess… If it’s how I am now… I might be, but… I glance at Faraine, but she is not there. Where’d she- As I turn around, I see Faraine standing quietly and not moving, her head facing the ground.
“Faraine?” I call out as I slowly approach. She’s not moving. I stop in front of her and gaze up at her face, a deep red blush is spread across her face. I see her mouth move but no words come out. “What?”
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, “I… I didn’t…”
Smiling, I take a step away and ask, “Do you really think my voice is cute?”
A moment of silence follows. “Hmmm?” Slowly, Faraine nods her head. Hah! I grin widely as a warm feeling spreads in my chest. Am I happy? I turn away from Fariane and, as I start walking, state, “Thanks but I’m not really sure how to feel about that.”
I slowly move on and Faraine gradually catches up with me. “Is it… because you used to be a guy?
“Yeah,” I frown, “What gave it away?”
“Your… outburst with Revus earlier,” Faraine murmurs, “…about your chest.”
“Right…” I quietly reply, feeling my face heat up once more. I guess that would make it pretty obvious.
“Revus told me that there are a lot of fairies like me,” I recall, “but I’m still not fully comfortable being a girl… or a fairy.”
“Well… it should get better,” Faraine says, her words still sprinkled with embarrassment.
“Yeah, it has,” I respond, “At first I hated it, but I’ve grown used to a lot of things, but…” I glance at my chest, “Why do they have to get bigger?”
“You’ll get used to them,” Faraine says, “hopefully.”
“Quite the confidence,” I sarcastically remark. “So, what about you? Were you also-”
“No,” Faraine interrupts, “I was a girl then, and still am.”
“Well… Um…” I hesitate, “If…” I lick my lips as my eyes wander uncomfortably. “If I…” I glance at Faraine, and upon our eyes meeting, look away again.
“What is it?”
“If, and I mean If,” I emphasize, “but if I have any…” I gulp, “Questions about… you know, being a girl… can I… ask you…” My words fade out as I slowly finish my sentence.
“Sure,” Faraine gently replies, “but is there anything you’re worried about?”
“Well, like…” I try to find my words, “I don’t know how to put my hair up in the bath… and…”
“Pfft,” Faraine laughs.
“Don’t laugh,” I exclaim, my body warming as my face goes flush.
“Sorry, pfft,” she continues, “I didn’t mean to laugh, but I wasn’t expecting that.”
“Well I-” I blurt, but instantly stop, “I can’t ask Revus about things like that…” I look down, grip my pants, and mutter under my breath, “It’s too embarrassing.”
Faraine leans forward, her face just at the corner of my vision, and whispers into my ear, “If you need any help, just ask.” She giggles, “I’ll do what I can.”
“Sleeps,” I murmur, as I turn toward Faraine, her bangs still covering her eyes. Faraine steps back, straightening her stance, and we continue walking into the cave. “Hey Faraine.”
“Why don’t you tuck your bangs behind your ears?”
“Ah, well…” Faraine starts, going quiet for a moment, “Depressed, I guess.”
“What does that have to do with your bangs?”
“It just felt… comfortable,” Faraine sighs, “I don’t know, I just didn’t want people to see me, so… I hid.”
Right… She did say people don’t like her. “Want to talk-”
“No,” She cuts in, “No… Not. Not yet…”
“Okay,” I reply, looking up at her, “If you ever do though…” I smile and repeat her words, “I’ll do what I can.”
Faraine smiles, “Thanks.”
“Soooo,” I muse, “Can I see your face?” I smile, exposing my teeth.
“Do you really want-”
“Yes!” I exclaim, “I want to see what you look like.”
“Okay,” Faraine responds.
She hesitates for a moment, then slowly tucks her blue bangs behind her pointed ears. She has a soft, rectangular shaped face, with low cheekbones. Her upturned, red eyes are close together, separated by her straight nose. Straight eyebrows with a slight curve at the end rest just above her eyes. As she blinks, her full eyelashes brush against her blemish-free, fair skin that is tinted red from the flames’ radiance. She smiles and her perfectly white teeth appear from her bottom-heavy lips.
“Wow…” I mutter, examining her face.
“You don’t have to stare,” she comments, looking away from me.
“Sorry,” I reply, “You’re really pretty.”
As Faraine’s face grows a deeper red, she starts to walk by me and quietly whispers, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome, and I don’t think you should cover your face,” I state, “After all, I’d like to see my friends’ face.”
“We aren’t friends,” Faraine denies.
So you say, but aren’t we friends now? Maybe not… I form a fist with my left hand and place it under my chin. What do people normally do to become friends? Maybe I should ask Revus later, he might know.
We continue our walk through the cavernous corridor. Faraine seems to have a lot going on… Between the page stuff with Minerva? I think that’s what her name was… That, people not liking her, and her parents-
“Oh! Faraine!” I shout grabbing her hand.
She jumps to the side by my sudden outburst and looks at me, “Yeah?”
“You’re related to Novaraine, right?” I announce, getting closer to her, “Then have you met my siblings?”
“Yeah, I have,” She hesitantly answers, leaning back a bit.
“Can you tell me about them?” I implore, taking another step toward her, “Please, Revus says he doesn’t know anything about them.” At least, that’s what he says…
“Ah, I guess that makes sense,” Faraine mutters as she steps back, “He would’ve left before they were born, so it’s not surprising that he doesn’t know much.”
“But you do?” I pray, grabbing her other arm and gripping her wrists tightly.
“Yeah…” replies, glancing at my hands around her wrist, “I’ve talked with them on occasion.”
“Yes!” I shout, releasing her while raising my arms in the air. I lower them, stare at Faraine, and blurt, “Tell me about them.”
Faraine smiles, “Well, your oldest sibling is Evion, and he’s your only brother.” I have a big brother… I smile. …and if he’s the only one then… “You also have two older sisters,” she continues, “Your oldest sister’s name is Evanna. Then there’s Evorra. And finally,” she looks down at me, “There’s you, Evetta.” Evion, Evanna, and Evorra… I giggle, clench my fists, and look down. My siblings.
“What’re they like?” I inquire as I gaze up at her.
“Well, I don’t know much about them,” Faraine answers, “Like I said, I’ve only talked to them a handful of times.”
“Still, you’ve got to know something, right?”
“Well, Evion… He’s kind of… protective?”
“Sort of, but specifically toward Evanna and Evorra,” Faraine explains, “and likely toward you once he meets you. He’s also pretty impulsive too and I’ve heard he’s gotten into a few fights.”
“Yeah…” Faraine makes a strained smile, “He’d start fights after people approached Evanna and Evorra with the intent of becoming their pages.”
“I see…” I note, “Is that why you don’t want to become my page?”
“No… that’s not it…” She trails off slightly as she looks to the side.
After a couple of seconds I ask, “Alright. What about my sisters?”
“Evanna’s beautiful, proper, and elegant,” Faraine says, “She tries to be a positive example of what a fairy should be, however, she struggles a bit with her… um… studies.”
“Ha!” I proudly exclaim, “So it’s not just me!” Thank you big sis… Now I won’t be alone during my extra lectures. “And Evorra? Is she like us?”
Faraine chuckles, “No, quite the opposite actually.”
“She booksmart, skilled with the axioms, and is quite the tomboy.”
“Then, was she a guy before?”
“I don’t know,” Faraine answers, “She’s always out and about doing something, so I haven’t talked with her much.”
I smile, “I want to meet them.”
“There is one thing they all share in common though,” Faraine smirks as she glances at me.
“Really? I hope it’s something I like too,” I murmur, “Then we can go do stuff together.”
“Pfft,” Faraine laughs.
“What’s so funny?” I turn and glare at Faraine.
“You’re the thing they all care about,” Faraine explains, “Ever since they learned about you, they’ve all continued to look for you and Revus, and they’re excited to meet you.”
“Yeah,” I mumble, lowering my gaze, “I want to meet them too.”
The two of us silently walk for a bit longer, staying side by side. We reach a left turn and, after rounding the corner, I see several glowing, teal pillars in the distance. I tilt my head. What’re those? As I take a step forward, I stop, and begin to scan our surroundings.
As I bend down to pick up a rock, Faraine asks, “What are you doing?”
“Shhh,” I hiss before throwing the rock toward the lights, watching and listening for any reaction. Looks clear… I turn to Faraine and state, “I was checking to see if anything would happen.”
“Well… Even though Revus said it was safe,” I elaborate, “I’ve had several poor encounters because of my lack of caution and awareness, so…”
Faraine chuckles, “Were you scared?”
“No!” I blurt, “I… wasn’t scared. Just making sure nothing would happen.” I pout, crossing my arms. “It looks safe though.”
“Pfft,” Faraine starts to laugh again, “Yeah, it’s safe.”
I feel my face heat up, and start walking toward the pillars, Faraine following behind me. It’s not funny. I’m just trying to be careful… As we get closer, their numbers increase and the intensity of the light grows. The large, stone-like structures illuminate their surroundings with a shimmering, teal tint..
Crystals? I walk up to one and feel an energy radiating from it. I’ve never seen anything like this, but they don’t seem natural. I reach my hand out and place my palm against the smooth surface. Instantly, the light within the crystal gathers at my palm and, as it does, the color of the crystal rapidly shifts from teal to black. A glowing, teal glitter begins to orbit around my hand. “Ah!” I shout as I shake my hand and, as quick as the glitter appeared around my hand, it disappears. “Phew,” I sigh, looking at the now wholly black crystal. That was kind of cool, but what happened?
Crack. Crack. Poof. Suddenly, massive cracks form throughout the entire crystal, before it abruptly shatters into specks of black dust that quickly fade and vanish. I blink a few times at where the crystal just was. Well… they’re definitely not natural if just touching them makes that happen, but why did it explode? I look over at the other crystals. Maybe that one was just… different? I scurry over to the closest crystal and, after placing my palm against it, the same thing happens. The light gathers, the crystal changes color, the glitter appears, disappears, and then the crystal explodes into dust.
“Hey Faraine, do you-” I start to ask but stop as I turn to Faraine and see her frozen in place, mouth agape. “What’s wrong?”
“What did you just do?” Faraine hurriedly inquires, approaching me.
I take a step back, bumping my back against the wall and sending pain through my body. Ow… “W- What do you mean? I- I just touched it,” I stutter, “W- wh? Did I do something bad?”
“Not bad,” Faraine replies, glancing at the crystals, “Just shocking.”
“These are called spyrite, a mineral that forms over dozens of years after absorbing vast quantities of spīīr,” Faraine explains, “These ones specifically hold crystal spīīr, hence their appearance and color.” She walks over to one, places both of her palms against it, and continues, “These one seem to be holding a large amount of spīīr too.”
Slowly, the area around her hands glows a bit brighter than the rest of the crystal, but the light does not disappear, nor does the color change to black. Why isn’t anything happening? A thin, faint amount of teal glitter appears around her hands before disappearing, but the crystal looks almost unchanged.
Faraine pulls her arms away, breathing heavily, and elaborates, “These… are usually used as… source of power for tools… or catalysts for cultivation… and for fairies… it’s almost always… the latter.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” She huffs, “Just catching my breath.”
“Why didn’t it crumble and break?”
Faraine stares at me perplexedly, furrowing her brows.
“Please don’t look at me like that. There are a lot of things I don’t know and understand,” I remark, “That’s part of the reason that Revus used to get mad at me.”
Faraine makes a complicated smile, places her hands on her knees and she leans forward. While facing the ground, she answers, “Since spyrite… is composed entirely of spīīr… once it’s all removed… naturally they would break apart… like what you saw before.”
“Then does that mean that I absorbed all the spīīr from both of those crystals?”
“Pretty much…” She breathes heavily, standing up straight, “however… It would take most fairies hours, if not days, to get through a single piece of spyrite this size.”
“That long?” I inquire, tilting my head.
“Yeah, that long,” Faraine flatly answers, “Which means… For you to be able to absorb two crystals instantly, you must have a high absorption rate.”
“Did Revus ever mention something like that?” I mutter. I don’t know, but it reminds me of the orange flowers I once saw. “Can spyrite be other things, like flowers?”
“Sure, it can take on other shapes,” Faraine states, “but it can also fuse with things such as plants and animals.” I see… “Actually,” she continues, pulling me from my thoughts, “Now that I think about it, high might be an understatement.”
“Is it really that much?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
“I’ve never heard of anyone having such an absorption rate.”
“Then I’ll have to tell Revus,” I proudly exclaim, puffing out my chest, “That way I can brag about having something I’m good at.”
“You can’t be that bad at everything, right?”
“Well…” I hold up my hand, and extend a finger for each point I make, “…I don’t know much, I struggled to learn Zoic, I can’t fly well, I’ve yet to grace my soul, I’m not very strong or big, I don’t have any special talents, and now I’ve lost my wings too. So…” I sigh, slumping my shoulders.
“I’m sure you aren’t that bad at those things,” Faraine replies.
“Ask Revus,” I grumble, “He seems to think otherwise.” I stand up straight, and continue, “Which is why I’m happy to have found something I’m good at, even if I don’t fully understand what it means.”
“That’s not the only thing,” Faraine remarks, “You’re also cute and very nice.”
I pinch my lips as my face heats up and I look away from her. I timidly chuckle, “I really don’t know how I should feel about those, and… can you even be good at them?
“I don’t see why you can’t be.”
“Mmm,” I hum, “Maybe we should continue exploring the cave.”
“Okay,” Faraine giggles, covering her mouth as she laughs.
As we walk by the glowing pillars of spyrite, I ask, “Do you think I’m weird?”
“Weird? How so?”
“Well… I’ve never met anyone besides Revus since I’ve been born, and my time with him is usually spent learning,” I explain, “but I don’t really know what’s normal and what’s not and that makes me uncomfortable so… I wanted to know what you think about me.”
Faraine ponders for a bit, then asks, “How old are you?”
“Revus said that I was born on the first of Virgo.”
“Born on the first day of the year,” Faraine comments, “So you’re not even four months old then…” She pauses for a moment, “I don’t… think that makes you weird, just young.”
“How old are you,” I ask, looking up at the charming woman that is almost a full head taller than me.
“I’m seven years old.”
I furrow my brows, and look her up and down, scanning her well developed body. “You’re seven?”
Faraine laughs, “Revus didn’t explain this to you?”
“Hmmm…” Did he? “He might’ve but I don’t remember.”
“Fairies mature quicker than most species so that our souls are able to utilize the axioms as soon as possible,” she states, “But after we fully mature, which is usually around ten years, we practically stop aging altogether.”
“Yeah, my aunt is over 2,000 years old and she doesn’t look much older than me,” Faraine adds, “I’m sure you noticed rapid growth since you’ve been born.” Yeah, I even used to measure my height to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. “So, you’re not weird.”
Faraine continues, “But your monstrous absorption rate is weird.”
“Is it really that weird?”
“It’s not normal, that I can guarantee, but it’s not a bad thing,” she replies, “After all, a fairy’s absorption rate is closely related to how powerful they can become.”
“Does that mean I’ll be strong in the future?”
“Possibly,” Faraine considers, “I would say there’s a chance for you to become one of the most powerful fairies ever.”
“You’re exaggerating,” I comment as I see a wall in front of us. I look around, not seeing any turns or hidden holes. “I guess this is the end.”
“Looks like it,” Faraine responds.
“So it was just the spyrite?” I ponder, “Guess it’s time to head back. I wonder if Revus is back by now.” Alright, before he gets back. I take a deep breath and shout, “Revus is a jerk!” I smile as the wondrous words travel down the corridor. “Much better.”
“Does it feel that good?”
“Try it,” I urge, “It helps.”
“I’ll pass,” Faraine refuses, “It’s too embarrassing.”
We start working our way through the cavern, back to our campsite.
“A… jerk… am… I?” the words echo through the passage, a slight tone of annoyance detectable through them. Revus… He’s back.
I quickly hide behind Faraine and shout from around her, “I’m not wrong!” My sentence echoes out, fighting its way back to Revus.
“If you’re that worried, why keep agitating him?” Faraine questions.
“Because if I don’t tell him, who will?”
Quickly, the tunnel starts to glow in the distance as a bright light rapidly flies forward, Revus following closely behind it. As Revus approaches, the red-tinted walls change to a golden yellow.
Revus lands in front of us, clearly upset about something, then smiles dubiously, “Since I’m such a jerk, how about we increase the duration of your lessons while we’re here.”
“What?” I blurt, “You can’t do that!”
“And, you won’t get any food until you completely understand the lesson.”
I look away and flatly mutter under my breath, “Might as well just kill me now then.” I return my gaze to him and add, “You’re being unfair.”
“Well sorry,” he sarcastically apologizes, “I can’t help being such a jerk.”
“Pfft,” Faraine starts laughing.
Revus’ eyes travel up and Faraine instantly stops laughing. “Move over,” he orders.
Faraine takes a step to the right as Revus walks toward me. Faraine… You’re supposed to help me. I look at her and see her mouth the words, “I’m sorry.” How could you? I close my eyes and gulp as Revus approaches me.
“Yes?” I reply, keeping my eyes closed.
“Look at me.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Well I want you to.” Guh, you jerk. Abusing your power.
“Not fair…” I comment, slowly opening my eyes and looking up at him.
“You ready to head back?”
“Mhm,” I nod.
“Good,” he states as grabs me and places me under his arm. He rises into the air, carrying me with a single arm while I dangle at his side.
“Hey, put me down!” I bark.
“Let’s go, Faraine,” Revus orders.
I begin to flail about, shouting, “I said put me down, this hurts!”
“I can’t hear you,” Revus answers.
“If you can’t hear me, then why are you responding?”
Revus instantly stops answering.
“Hey, come on, put me down. Please. Revus…” I sigh. “I’m sorry for calling you a jerk, please don’t increase my lessons?”
“I’ll think about it,” Revus chuckles.
“Haaa…” I sigh once more.
As we fly back through the cave, Revus remarks, “You seem to be in a good mood today.”
I smile, “Yeah… I think I made a friend.”